An open letter to Suresh Raina from an MS Dhoni fan
Dearest Suresh Raina,
A dropped catch, a scratchy 14-ball 8 and a wasteful DRS review - these are your contributions during the IPL 2019 final for which you are being criticized right now. But little do the trolls realize that you are the bedrock of the CSK batting lineup.
You have toiled hard for the team over the past 10 seasons, and the enthusiasm that you have shown on the field has bewitched us time and again.
In my opinion the only mistake, and this was out of your control, is that you played in a team that was led by the 'Midas man' Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Dhoni whom the Chennaiites adore and worship, the Dhoni who enthralls the crowd with his resplendent finishing touches, the Dhoni who makes other important contributions disappear into oblivion and most importantly the Dhoni who makes the crowd gape in awe and forget that there are 21 other players playing the game.
When the entire 'Whistle Podu Army' is craving for a Mahi show, you are there, being a silent warrior and always striving to give your best to the team. It is the sheer confidence and self-belief you possess, that make you scale great heights for Chennai.
While the world is captivated by Dhoni's performance with the willow, for you it is all about hard work and dedication. For you, success and fame did not come instantly like it did for Dhoni.
But when I associate you and Dhoni together, a rash of memories come to my mind. There are several happy imprints that you and Dhoni have left behind for the ardent fans to savor.
Let us rewind and go back to the finals in the year 2010. You were taking on Mumbai in their own backyard, and there was a mountain of expectations on you to perform. You did not disappoint.
When the team was in a spot of bother at 67/3 in the 12th over, you and Dhoni took on the Mumbai bowlers and stitched together a partnership of 72 runs. You stayed there till the end, making a vital 57 off 35 deliveries.
That stupendous effort helped CSK register its maiden IPL triumph. And most memorably, when you and Dhoni were out in the middle, it was an absolute nightmare for the bowlers.
The formidable combination that you created with Dhoni yielded fruitful results in international cricket too. You two have an average partnership of more than 60, which is quite incredible for a middle order batting pair.
When you eventually lost your place in the Indian team, you knew that IPL was the only platform where you could showcase your prowess. And you did not let down the fans. You have scored over 400 runs in almost every season for CSK; that is a record to be extremely proud of.
Batting at one down even in a T20 game isn't easy. You need to be ready from Ball 1. If the openers fail to get a good start or chew up a lot of deliveries, the pressure is on you to bail the team out.
The pressure of keeping the scoreboard ticking and at the same time protecting one's wicket mostly goes to the one-down batsman. But season after season you have proved your mettle and played several match-winning knocks for the team.
One bad season and the world starts to turn against you. No matter what they say though, I have complete faith that Dhoni and the CSK think tank will definitely retain you for the next season. If Dhoni is the adopted son of Chennai, you are a quintessential team man and an ultimate Super King.
At this moment, I hope you just relax and enjoy India's journey in the World Cup. Please do not pressurize yourself.
Wishing you the best of luck in the coming future,
An ardent Dhoni fan.