Suresh Raina (left) has been appointed the captain of the team. Photo Courtesy: @ImRainaTeam (via Twitter).
Suresh Raina (left) has been appointed the captain of the team. Photo Courtesy: @ImRainaTeam (via Twitter).

The Rajkot franchise for the next two editions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been named ‘Gujarat Lions’, with the franchise officials making the announcement of the same at an event in New Delhi on Tuesday. Indian left-handed middle-order batsman Suresh Raina has been picked to lead the side, whose first assignment will be the upcoming IPL 9, while former Australian cricketer Brad Hodge has been picked to coach the side. Aside from Rajkot, the Pune franchise has been named ‘Rising Pune Supergiants’, with Indian limited-overs captain MS Dhoni being named the skipper. Both Raina and Dhoni played aside each other for tainted franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK), which has been banned for a total of two years along with Rajasthan Royals (RR). READ: Suresh Raina appointed captain of Gujarat Lions for IPL 2016

The Keshav Bansal-led Intex Technologies had bagged the Rajkot franchise, which is one of the two new franchises along with Pune that will replace CSK and RR for the next two years following the Lodha Panel verdict. According to some reports, Bansal is currently the youngest owner of an IPL team. Following the draft that took place following the dissolution of the two tainted franchises, the likes of Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner and Dwayne Bravo were inducted into the Rajkot franchise, while Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith and Faf du Plessis were drafted into Pune.

According to reports, the Rajkot franchise had initially approached former India coach Gary Kirsten, who axed from his role with Delhi Daredevils, as well as current India A and India U-19 coach Rahul Dravid. However, both parties turned down the offers, before Hodge finally accepted the role. Hodge has played for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the past.

 

 

 

The ninth IPL edition is slated to begin on April 8, and will go on till May 24. Mobile phone brand Vivo replaced Pepsi as the title sponsor of the cash-rich league.