Raina to captain Rajkot IPL team

Suresh Raina (AFP)
Suresh Raina (AFP)

New Delhi - India limited-overs specialist Suresh Raina is to captain the new Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise in Rajkot, the team announced on Tuesday, while confirming Australian Brad Hodge as the side's coach.

Pune and Rajkot were unveiled as the new teams in the lucrative Twenty20 competition in December, replacing Chennai and Rajasthan, who were handed two-year suspensions for their involvement in an illegal betting scandal.

"Suresh Raina is a remarkable player with an impeccable record in all formats of the game," franchise owner Keshav Bansal said in a statement, announcing the team would be called the Gujarat Lions.

"His extensive experience combined with his great leadership skills will help us in putting together a winning strategy for the team."

Having played for three IPL teams, Hodge is familiar with the popular tournament. Back home, the 41-year-old captained Adelaide Strikers in this year's Big Bash League (BBL), while also taking on an assistant coaching role.

"We finalised Brad Hodge as the team coach on the basis of his successful contribution to the Australian national team and his excellent stint in the IPL," Bansal said.

"I am confident that our team will benefit immensely from his guidance and mentorship.

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