Suresh Raina Journey – India saw two of its foremost international players retire on August 15, 2020. While everyone knows about the successes and impactful contribution of legendary Captain Cool, MS Dhoni, not everyone realizes that India lost another one of its priceless ball hitters and fielders in limited-overs format, Suresh Raina.
Suresh Raina played his debut match for the country in 2005, six months after Dhoni donned the Indian jersey. He was selected during the regime of Greg Chappell. One of the reasons for his selection was based on the need for a left-handed batsman in the squad and his power hitting. But a waning form and subsequent injury meant that his future in the Indian Team was questionable especially after a young team led by MS Dhoni created history by winning the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa. The debut IPL season in 2008 was instrumental in providing him the much-needed push to carry on his excellence. After an excellent season with the Chennai Super Kings in 2008, he made it back to the Indian Team.
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Suresh Raina was provided with the role of lower-middle order batsman to provide runs for the team as and when the match requires him to. He would mostly come in with 10-15 overs left in the game and provide the much-needed runs to the get the team across the line.
Apart from being an extraordinarily skilled batsman, he was an extremely argillitic fielder. Throughout his cricketing career, he produced some amazing catches and saved tons of runs for his team. He was also a good hitter of the wicket. The most impactful time in his career was his contributions during the ICC World Cup 2011 when he produced gold-like cameos against Australia in quarterfinals and against Pakistan in the semifinal. The lofted inside out drive and an agricultural hoick over mid-wicket are the trademark Suresh Raina shots. He was the first Indian batsman to hit a century in the T20I format and also the first Indian to hold centuries in all 3 formats of the game.
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In the 226 ODI matches that he played for India, he batted in 194 innings and scored 5615 runs at an average of 35.31 while scoring 5 centuries and 36 half-centuries. In the T20I format, he scored 1504 runs in 66 innings with 1 century and 5 fifties at an average of 29.16. Although he scored a century in his debut Test match, he played only 18 Test matches in his career. As a right-arm off-spinner, he also proved to be useful for Dhoni in several instances with him taking 36 wickets and 13 wickets in the ODI and T20I format respectively.
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Suresh Raina has been a part of the winning squad of the Indian Team in World Cup 2011. He was also part of the winning team of ICC Champions Trophy 2013. He is one of the greatest cricketers in the history of limited-overs cricket. Raina will forever be etched in the minds of every cricket fan.
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