While neither announcement was entirely unexpected, the fact that they came within minutes of each other and on Independence Day, was.
Almost taking a cue from his Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper and former team India captain, southpaw Suresh Raina took to social media to announce his retirement from international cricket.
Minutes after MS Dhoni finally put an end to feverish speculations on his future plans, thanking his fans for all the love they have showered on him all these years, Suresh Raina, in a brief message on Instagram, said, “It was nothing but lovely playing with you, @mahi7781. With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you on your journey. Thank you India. Jai Hind!”
While there was a lot of noise and media chatter around MSD’s future in Indian cricket from the time he went into a self-imposed sabbatical post India’s exit from the 2019 World Cup, Raina had been quietly going about his training drills and practice sessions for the upcoming edition of Indian Premier League.
While not a regular in limited overs cricket anymore, it was hoped that Raina might use the IPL stage to put himself in the reckoning for the next T20 World Cup. The event, to be hosted by India next year, would have offered him the perfect platform to go out in a blaze of glory.
As it turned out, however, he had made up his mind to follow his captain’s lead. With 5,615 runs in 226 ODIs and 1,604 runs in 78 T20Is, the southpaw from Muradnagar in UP will go down as one of the most distinguished limited overs players for India.
An integral part of India’s 2011 World Cup-winning unit, Raina played a key hand in the quarter-final against Australia and semi-final against Pakistan. Among his standout innings in limited overs cricket was a polished 81 against England in March, 2006; 106 against Sri Lanka in January, 2010 and a brutal 101 against South Africa in May 2010.