LEFT HANDED BATSMAN Suresh Raina, who was appointed skipper of new Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Gujarat Lions in New Delhi on Tuesday, said it will be a challenge for them to stop Mahendra Singh Dhoni, especially when he plays his trademark helicopter shot.
Dhoni's extended follow through, swirling his bat after hitting a straight aerial shot, resulting in a flat over boundary on most occasions, has been dubbed the "helicopter shot". The shot has been a hallmark of his batting and is emulated by cricketers the world over.
India limited overs captain Dhoni used to lead Raina and others in the suspended Chennai Super Kings. He will now skipper the Rising Pune Supergiants franchise in the ninth edition of IPL, due this summer.
"Me and Dhoni played quite a few finals together. It will be a challenge to stop Dhoni playing the helicopter shot. Me and Dhoni talked in Australia how we will be in different teams, but it will be fun. Imagine (Ravindra) Jadeja celebrating dismissing Dhoni," laughed Raina, who helped India win the third and final Twenty20 International against Australia in Sydney on Sunday.
"I played with the greatest captain for CSK and came out as a better man and a matured player."
Former New Zealand skipper, and due to retire next month, Brendon McCullum, left-arm spinner Jadeja, all-rounders James Faulkner of Australia and West Indian Dwayne Bravo have already been drafted into the Rajkot-based outfit.
The players' auction is due to be held on February 6 in Bengaluru.
"I am excited about the auction. We need to sit with the coach (Brad Hodge) and owner to decide on the auction. I urge everyone to support Gujarat Lions, the first IPL team from the region. A lot of youngsters are coming up. It will be all about playing fearless cricket," said the Uttar Pradesh batsman.
Commenting on the 3-0 victory in the T20 international series Down Under against the hosts, Raina said the
"youngsters showed real character in Australia, especially considering it was their first tour. It was important to beat Australia in Australia as they are in our pool in World Twenty20".
"I have always played No.3 in IPL. We will plan and execute for WT20 accordingly. Top order batting is very important in T20s. I have learned a lot of good things from Yuvi pa. All innings are important, whether you play for club, state or country," added Raina.