Suresh Raina is arguably one of India's finest limited overs batsman in the last one decade. Although he has hung up his boots now, the southpaw still commands respect across the cricketing channels.
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Suresh Kumar Raina is probably known by fans as the first Indian to score a hundred in all three formats of the game. Born on the 27th of November, 1986, Raina is a left-handed batsman and a more than a handy spinner who has assisted former skipper MS Dhoni with few good overs in the middle of the innings.
He is known for his acrobatic fielding skills and ability to cheer his teammates throughout the innings. Raina has made significant contributions in the lower-middle order for India and has won many games single handedly.
First Indian player to hold a century in all three formats of the game
The selectors noticed him after his notable performances in the 2004 U-19 World Cup and the U-19 Asia cup. All his exploits in the domestic cricket rewarded him as he made his Ranji Trophy debut for Uttar Pradesh against Assam in February 2003 at the age of 16 but did not play another match until the following season.
Often called Mr. IPL, Suresh Raina has truly aced the IPL. Raina has been the talisman for the Chennai Super Kings over the years. In nine of the 12 seasons, Raina has aggregated 400-plus runs. His lowest return was 374 runs, in 2015. With an aggregate of 5,368 runs, he is the tournament’s second highest run-scorer. Averaging 33.34, he has hit 38 fifties and one century, with an overall strike rate of 137.14.
Raina missed his first IPL match only in the ninth season due to the birth of his first child. He scored 442 runs for Gujarat Lions in the 10th edition of IPL. Often called ‘Chinna Thala’ by the locals of Tamil Nadu, Raina truly is a urban legend for the franchise.
However, he in a rather unceremonious way returned to India from Dubai just before the start of IPL 2020.
Suresh Raina made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka on 30 July 2005. After a stupendous start though, his form dipped over the next year and that was followed by a serious injury which meant that the career had hit a roadblock towards the latter part of 2007. The talent was obvious but Raina needed to translate that on the field as well. That's when the IPL Caravan debuted in 2008.
Raina was on the bench through the first half of the 2011 Cricket World Cup as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni instead went with the in-form Yusuf Pathan. This remained so until the group game against West Indies, which Raina played in place of an injured Virender Sehwag.
Against defending champions Australia in the quarter-final, Dhoni made a strategic change, omitting Yusuf Pathan in favour of Raina. Raina responded by assisting Yuvraj Singh in a successful run chase through high pressure, making 34 from 28 balls to carry India to victory.
In the semi-final against Pakistan, he batted with tailenders to score an unbeaten 36, a significant contribution to India's final tally of 260. He also took Younis Khan's catch off of Yuvraj's bowling. Suresh Raina played some crucial knocks in quarter-final and semi-final of the World Cup, which helped India to win the 2011 ICC Cricket WorldCup.
Gary Kirsten, ex-coach of Team India had said that Raina won the World Cup for us with some crucial knocks.
He played the 2015 World Cup too and raked up impressive cameos and even scored a Hundred against Zimbabwe in the last league match.
Raina at his prime form is the last thing that the opposition team wanted. He could score a quick fire 40-50 runs at the back end of the innings, bowl a few economical overs and save crucial runs for his team in the field.
If there is one format that Suresh Raina has completely owned then that is the T20 format. He made his T20 debut against South Africa on 1 December 2006.
Raina Has now retired from all forms of the game but his T20I career record is stellar. In the 78 matches played, he has scored 1,605 runs at an average of 29.18 with one century and fife fifties.
Overall, Raina has the highest score of an unbeaten 126 in T20s with an average of 33.47. He has notched up 48 half-centuries and four centuries in this format.
Apart from Raina, Virat Kohli (7833) and Rohit Sharma (7795) are the only other batsmen in the top 10 list of the highest run-getters in T20 cricket.
Five years after his ODI debut Suresh Raina made his Test debut, in July 2010, against the same opposition--Sri Lanka. He scored a hundred on his Test debut.
Sri Lanka made 4/642 declared and India was in trouble at 4/241 when Raina came in to join Sachin Tendulkar. Raina went on to reach the maiden century on debut becoming few of Indian players to do so as the pair put on a double century partnership. Yuvraj recovered in time for the Third Test but the selectors opted to retain Raina.
Raina however, could never really fit into the scheme of things of the Indian Test camp setup and eventually drifted from selector's radar. He played his last Test in 2015.
Raina had captained the Indian team on it’s tour to Zimbabwe in 2010 which made him the second youngest player to captain India.Under his captaincy, India won the T20 series against Zimbabwe 2-0.
Raina again shouldered the load of captaincy in 2011 when India toured West Indies after the World Cup with captain MS Dhoni rested and vice-captain Virender Sehwag injured. Gautam Gambhir was named the captain for the One-dayers and T20's with Raina as his deputy. But due to injury, Gautam Gambhir was ruled out and Raina ultimately captained.
India won the series, and his captaincy was highly appreciated by former West-Indian legends. He was again declared captain of the young Indian cricket team during 2014 Bangladesh series in 2014 while all the regular players of Indian cricket were rested. He led his team for 2–0 victory in the series.
His personal performance was also splendid in the low scoring series as he captained the side very aggressively throughout the series. He was praised all over the world for his captaincy skills which he displayed during the 2nd ODI of this series. India was all out scoring 104 runs while batting first and Suresh Raina and his young team defended 104 runs and won the match by 54 runs. His captaincy was the deciding factor of this match along with Stuart Binny's bowling performance.
Suresh Raina has even captained the now-defunct IPL franchise Gujarat Lions during its two year run.
Suresh Raina was born on 27th of November, 1986 in Muradnagar, Uttar Pradesh. In 2000, Raina decided to play cricket and subsequently moved from his hometown Muradnagar, to Lucknow, to attend the Guru Gobind Singh Sports College, Lucknow. What happened from there is for everybody to see.
Suresh Raina married Priyanka Chaudhary on 3 April 2015. They have a daughter (Garcia) and a son (Rio) together. Raina has even started a foundation on the name of her daughter named “Raina-Garcia Foundation” which is looked after by his wife.