NEW DELHI: Chennai Super Kings
‘ new recruit and veteran India batter Ajinkya Rahane
on Thursday said that he is ready to play in any position for the four-time champions in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League
Rahane has always played as an opener in the T20 format, but CSK have in place a set opening pair in Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. So, the right-handed batter was asked about his role in the CSK set-up during a media interaction.
“I have always been an opener. I have always opened the batting in T20 format, so not much of a difference in my role. Still whatever the management and captain asks me to do, I am always open to doing it. For me, it’s always about the team, so whenever I get an opportunity I will give my best,” Rahane said on the eve of the IPL 2023 opener against defending champions Gujarat Titans
Rahane gave an open-ended reply when asked if Ben Stokes has any chance of bowling, or he will play only as a specialist batter, as reported by the British media.
“You will see tomorrow how Mahi bhai uses him. It’s completely in Mahi bhai’s mind. He will use him really well,” Rahane answered, without divulging much.
IPL 2023: The captains and their teams
<p>Not many would have bet on Gujarat Titans winning the IPL title on debut. Now they are the most-marked team and opponents will try to exploit the chinks in their armour. </p>
<p>Hardik Pandya was a revelation in 2022 as skipper and batter. Titans will hope he carries on in that vein and takes even more bowling responsibility.</p>
<p>Having got rid of the image of ‘perennial underdogs’, last year’s runners-up Rajasthan Royals will be riding high on confidence, but will be under pressure to match last season’s performance. </p>
<p>Royals captain Sanju Samson has been associated with the team since 2013 and is now considered their batting mainstay.</p>
<p>Lucknow Super Giants finished third in 2022. Can they go one better this time? </p>
<p>Skipper KL Rahul, usually among the top run-scorers in the event, will again have a point to prove. </p>
<p>After a forgettable 2022, which saw them lose their first eight matches and finish at the bottom of the standings, Mumbai Indians will look to bounce back with a vengeance.<br /></p>
<p>Captain Rohit Sharma had a below-par 2022 but with the amount of experience under his belt, still remains Mumbai’s most potent batter and this will be the 10th season for Rohit as MI captain. </p>
<p>Chennai Super Kings splurged Rs 16 crore on Ben Stokes in the auctions, because MS Dhoni is likely to retire after this season. The future begins now for the franchise.</p>
<p>Eyes will once again be on the leadership skills of MS Dhoni leading experienced players who know what it is like to deliver on the big stage. </p>
<p>Perennial underachievers RCB will play six of their seven home matches in the first four weeks of the competition and Faf du Plessis and his men will be keen to cash in on the early home advantage.</p>
<p>Captain Faf du Plessis led from the front in the previous season and emerged the highest run-getter with 468 runs. </p>
<p>Delhi Capitals have been consistent enough in the last four editions under coach Ricky Ponting, but need that extra push under new captain David Warner. </p>
<p>Captain David Warner is one of the most prolific IPL batters and has the experience of leading an IPL team to the trophy. </p>
<p>Punjab Kings have never won the title and are prone to making wholesale changes after nearly every season. The last time they reached the playoffs was back in 2014. </p>
<p>Captain Shikhar Dhawan, known to keep his cool in crunch situations, is also the second highest run getter in IPL history. </p>
<p>Sunrisers Hyderabad have a new-look team with a new captain in Aiden Markram, who was player of the tournament in SAT20 and was part of the T20I in which South Africa chased down a record total set by the West Indies.</p>
<p>Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders grossly underperformed last season, finishing seventh. Can the new management deliver this time? </p>
<p>It remains to be seen whether the added responsibility of captaincy helps Nitish Rana’s batting. </p>
Rahane said that he felt that he was batting in good rhythm after having a decent domestic season with 634 runs in seven Ranji games for Mumbai.
“Personally, I am batting really well, and had a good domestic season. It is all about having fun but looking to learn every time and nothing changes. So, whenever I get a chance, I would like to contribute my best,” he added.
Playing under Mahendra Singh Dhoni again is something that he is looking forward to.
“Experience has been really good so far. We started our training session a long time back and are very happy to be part of the CSK family. Playing under Mahi bhai again… It’s a great opportunity for me to learn, I have played under him in the Indian team for many years, but in CSK, this is the first opportunity to play under him, really looking forward to it.”
As far as the new ‘Impact Player’ rule is considered, Rahane feels that playing with 12 players effectively keeps any team in the game till the last ball.
“In this rule, you are never out of the game and whether it’s a bowler, all-rounder or batter, every team is in the game till the last ball.
“In domestic cricket, it was different as you had to choose your impact player by the 14th over, so here he can come anytime and deliver for the team, so basically you are playing with 12 players, no team is out of the equation till the last ball.”
(With inputs from PTI)