The Rajkot Franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), one of the two new teams introduced for the next two editions, unveiled its team name and logo here on Tuesday, christening itself as the Gujarat Lions, while announcing middle-order batsman Suresh Raina as its skipper.
The team, along with Rising Pune Supergiants, will replace the suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) for the 2016 and 2017 seasons and made the key announcements in an unveiling ceremony on Sunday, headed by the Intex team's owner Keshav Bansal and Raina, who has just returned from India's tour of Australia.
Among the key announcements was the name of veteran Australian batsman Brad Hodge as the team's coach.
Bansal said the team’s name was chosen through an online poll and Rajkot will be its home ground. “The team name was chosen after a poll on social media where Gujarat Lions was the most voted name,” said Bansal. “Our home ground will be Rajkot. We are in talks with Gujarat government and may come up with an academy there,” he added.
Raina, who played for the Chennai Super Kings since the beginning of the cash-rich league in 2008 and is the highest scorer T20 cricket, was excited about his new innings as a skipper of a new team.
“I urge everyone to support Gujarat Lions, the first IPL team from the region,” he said.
He, however, didn’t forget his skipper at CSK – MS Dhoni – during the unveiling and was all in awe of his captain at the club and national level. “I played [at CSK] with the greatest captain and came out as a better player,” he said.
While Raina is a seasoned IPL campaigner, Hodge is regarded one of the most experienced batsmen in Twenty20 cricket and is the second highest run-scorer in the format.
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