Out of favour batsman Suresh Raina has revealed that unlike previous editions, former India captain MS Dhoni was preparing in a different way for this year’s edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which currently stands indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Dhoni and Raina had started their preparations for IPL 13 from March 3 for the tournament earlier slated to stand from March 29.

“The first few days he took it lightly and just focused on going to the gym but he was playing the shots beautifully and his fitness level was great and he was not getting tired,” Raina said while speaking on Star Sports Cricket Connected show.

“His preparations were different this time, I have played with him over the years with the national side and IPL getting ready but it was different this time, so I just hope the matches can start quickly then everyone can see how well prepared he is and see what I saw myself LIVE in the two months of camp that we had,” he added.

The 2020 IPL is supposed to see return of Dhoni to cricketing action as the wicket-keeper is on a break since playing in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup where India lost to New Zealand.

“When someone works hard, then the prayers and blessings find their way to them,” said Raina.

“The best thing was, (Ambati) Rayudu, myself, Mahi bhai and Murali (Vijay) were batting in a group and Mahi bhai bats for long hours when he is in Chennai for about 2–4 hours.

“But this time he was just not getting tired of batting. He was doing his gym in the morning, followed by batting for three hours in the evening,” he added.

The left-handed batsman, who has played 18 Tests, 226 ODIs and 78 T20Is, further spoke about what makes batting with Dhoni special.

“For whatever time we have played, my USP has been that MS Dhoni has given me the license to bat freely and he always knew my capability,” Raina said.

“Whatever strengths I have in my game and whenever things were going great for me, if I needed to tweak something, he would also slowly give me a warning and tell me what the results could be if there is a change in the strategy and then he would leave the final call to me.

“He would not try to change anything but he would let you know the outcome/ result and how the situation of the team will be. So, he is also covering my batting and he is also telling me where the team can be. This allows me to make a compact decision,” he added.

If this year’s T20 World Cup — slated to be held in October-November in Australia — is postponed, it will open a window for the BCCI to host the IPL. In fact, it is believed that the roadmap for the same is already in planning.