Match-winners make Gujarat Lions an exciting IPL side: Suresh Raina

Mumbai, April 5: New Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Gujarat Lions skipper Suresh Raina on Tuesday said that the presence of multiple match-winners make them an exciting side to watch in the ninth edition of the Twenty20 cricket tournament starting from April 9.

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Former Australia batsman Brad Hodge has been named coach of the Rajkot-based outfit which also has former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, Ravindra Jadeja, Australian James Faulkner and West Indian Dwayne Bravo.

Match-winners make Gujarat Lions an exciting IPL side: Suresh Raina

"Gujarat never had a team before, so it will be a great opportunity for the players and specially the youngsters. We do have best coaches now and also a few match-winning players, Bravo, McCullum," Raina said.

"McCullum did not play World T20, we wanted to focus on IPL, this shows how much experience we do have in dressing room. This IPL will surely be exciting. So, I hope all will do well, we are looking forward to it," Raina said at a press conference at the launch of leading Spanish oil company Repsol's lubricant business in India.

After playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the past eight editions, the hard-hitting middle order batsman will be playing for Gujarat after CSK was suspended for two years by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Lodha Committee in the spot-fixing and betting scandal.

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The 29-year-old said that although it will be a challenge for him to play for a new team, he will give his best to make the team victorious.

"We are not playing for CSK for next two years. But I think we have got the responsibility. We do have a couple of match winners in our side (Gujarat). I think IPL is a place where captain is just a name. We need match winners to win it for the side."

"For the last eight years, the youngsters have shared dressing room with world class players, so the next two years will also be the same. We have played in semi-finals in World T20 and won the Asia Cup and in Australia, and so the youngsters are on the right track," he said.

"It will be difficult to get back the fans, like when you are staying in your house and then moving to the next house. But for this there are lot of challenges in our life. That makes a lot of differences. I have played for CSK for eight years, learnt a lot of things there from senior players," Raina concluded.


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