The countdown to the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has begun and it’s not just fans who cannot contain their excitement. Even players are gung-ho about the upcoming T20 cricket extravaganza, as evident from Chennai Super Kings (CSK) veteran Suresh Raina’s Instagram post. Sitting next to teammates Robin Uthappa and Dwayne Bravo, Raina is all smiles and has captioned the post: “Three Musketeers together again!!”
The stylish southpaw had pulled out of the last edition of IPL, which was delayed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, reportedly due to personal reasons. With 5,368 runs in 193 games, the 34-year-old batting mainstay of CSK is the second-highest run-getter in IPL history.
West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was also forced to pull out of the cash-rich league midway last year due to an injury. Bravo has been a key player in the MS Dhoni-led franchise over the years.
For Uthappa, who began his IPL career with Mumbai Indians in 2008, CSK will be his sixth franchise. He was traded by Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming season ahead of the auction.
He played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He then went to Pune Warriors India for 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons, before being acquired by Kolkata Knight Riders for six consecutive seasons – from 2014 to 2019. In 2020, he represented Rajasthan Royals.
A few days ago, in another Instagram post on CSK’s official handle, Uthappa said that it felt good being out there on the field. Looking forward to his stint with CSK, he added, “It’s good to be wearing yellow”.
The CSK camp has also been strengthened by the arrival of England all-rounder Sam Curran, who nearly pulled it off single-handedly for England in the ODI series decider in Pune a few days ago.
With his international commitments over, Curran, now, eyes a successful IPL stint with his Chennai side.
Some of the other players in the CSK camp, who did not feature in the limited-overs leg of the India vs England series, have joined the team well in advance.
India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara is among those who joined the camp in Mumbai earlier, served his mandatory quarantine period, and has begun training as well in the yellow jersey for the first time. Pujara had last played IPL in 2014. This February, during the auction, he was bought by CSK at his base price of Rs 50 lakh.
CSK open their campaign against last year’s runners-up Delhi Capitals in Mumbai on April 10. A day earlier, on April 9, the tournament kicks off with the game between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
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