On Sept. 6, Suresh Raina bowed out of all cricket. The pugnacious batter was a giant in limited-overs cricket for India and a showstoppe­r in the IPL.

His presence on the field of play will be missed.

“Cricket is a pursuit where the lessons of life are learnt. They are not taught with the tenderness encountere­d elsewhere, for the game does not permit its children an easy raising or its veterans a comfortabl­e passing.”

The late Peter Roebuck has nicely described why retirement­s are difficult for a cricketer. For Suresh Raina, too, the going was tough and exit from the cricket a harsh reality.

The India and Uttar Pradesh cricketer announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Sept. 6, bringing down the curtains on an illustriou­s career.

Raina’s sporting journey began in Lucknow, where he took admission in a sports hostel at the age of 13. It was a tough place. The young entrant faced bullies and also endured spine-chilling winters. From these conditions emerged a fine cricketer.

The elegant batter had announced his retirement on August 15, 2020, on the same day M. S. Dhoni called it a day. But the statement on Sept. 6 truly marked the end of an era: IPL, too, is behind him now.

From golden duck to maiden Test ton

Raina's India journey had an inauspicio­us start on July 30, 2005: he was dismissed for a golden duck against Sri Lanka. Against the same team, however, he would go on to score a Test century on debut five years later. By then, Raina had already cemented his place in the ODI team.

Considered a modern-day great in limited-overs cricket, Raina represente­d India in 226 ODIS, amassing 5,615 runs with five centuries and 36 half-centuries at a strike rate of 93.50. He was at his best during tight run-chases, and revelled when the stakes were high. Apart from the 2011 World Cup crown — the highest point of his career — Raina also possesses a medal from the 2013 Champions Trophy that India won.

Raina is the first Indian batter to score a century in all formats and the first Indian to score a T20I century — against South Africa in the 2010 T20 World Cup in the Caribbean.

Thanks to his tremendous willpower, Raina made huge strides in limited-overs cricket. But his Test career never achieved the same heights. Expectatio­ns were high when he scored a Test century on debut, but his weakness against the short delivery and a fragile technique for green tops and bouncy wickets kept his Test whites rather clean.


IPL and Raina were virtually synonymous with each other.

So impactful were his performanc­es in the yellow jersey of CSK that he earned the nickname of Mr. IPL. With CSK, Raina walked in and out of the yellow dugout for 11 seasons, featuring in 205 matches. From 2008 to 2021 — barring the two seasons when the franchise was banned (2016 and 2017) — Raina won four titles with CSK (in 2010, 2011, 2018 and 2021), scoring 5,528 runs with an unbeaten century and 39 half-centuries.

Given his legacy with the team, it was painful to see him being released ahead of the 2022 player auction, and to then see the ageing lion failing to attract bids from the other franchises.

A remarkable cricketer who was always relied upon, a man who never let his team down, had gone unsold. IPL had moved on. Thala Dhoni will no more have Chinna Thala for company in the field.

The most trusted sepoy under Lieutenant Dhoni, Raina will forever be remembered as a fierce competitor and a loyal servant of Indian cricket. It's time for the credits to roll out as the showstoppe­r has now himself bowed out.

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 ?? SPORTZPICS/BCCI ?? Well played: Suresh Raina will forever be remembered as a fierce competitor and a loyal servant of Indian cricket.
SPORTZPICS/BCCI Well played: Suresh Raina will forever be remembered as a fierce competitor and a loyal servant of Indian cricket.
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