Suresh Raina raised the standard of fielding for India: Rahul Dravid in his tribute to the left-hander

Suresh Raina made his ODI debut versus Sri Lanka in Dambulla in 2005. Credits: Hindustan Times
Suresh Raina made his ODI debut versus Sri Lanka in Dambulla in 2005. Credits: Hindustan Times
Srinjoy  Sanyal

Former India captain Rahul Dravid said recently-retired Suresh Raina’s contribution to Indian cricket in the limited overs format has been “fantastic” and lauded him for raising the team’s fielding standards. It was Dravid who had presented Raina with his ODI and Test caps in 2005 and 2010 respectively.

In a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Twitter, the batting legend said that when a young Suresh Raina was coming through the Indian system as a young, exciting talent around 2004/05, one could see a future India player in the making.

And, that’s exactly how it panned out. Right from scoring 247 runs in 7 matches at the Under-19 World Cup in 2004, to playing a major role in India winning the World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013 – Suresh Raina has had immense success.

“His contribution to Indian cricket, especially in the white-ball game has been fantastic... He contributed so much on the field, just his energy, the enthusiasm he brought, the way he raised the standard of fielding,” Dravid said.

Dravid sounded certain that the left-hander could have had more success had he batted higher up the order. And, rightly so, Suresh Raina is the second-highest run-getter in IPL history, having batted at number three for the Chennai Super Kings.

Suresh Raina was a terrific team man: Rahul Dravid

England v India - 2nd ODI: Royal London One-Day Series
England v India - 2nd ODI: Royal London One-Day Series

“For India, for most part of his career, he batted lower down the order, fielded at difficult positions, bowled some really handy overs, and always brought a lot to the team... a terrific team man, who always gave his best, brought some great energy to the game and was a very, very, skilful batter,” Dravid added.

And, indeed, he pulled off all those difficult tasks with aplomb. Everyone remembers Yuvraj Singh’s unbeaten 57 in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal against Australia. But, he had added 74 runs off 61 balls for the sixth wicket with none other than Suresh Raina. It was Raina who led the counter-attack, scoring 34 runs off 28 balls, including hitting Brett Lee for a six over long on.

Again in the semifinal against Pakistan, it was Raina’s 39-ball 36 that helped India from 205 for 6 to reach 260. Not only excelling with the bat, the left hander always used to save at least 10 to 15 runs on the field.

Suresh Raina scored 7987 runs in 322 internationals and remains the first Indian to score a hundred in all three formats.

Edited by Ritwik Kumar


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