Suresh Raina joins MS Dhoni in international retirement
"With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you [Dhoni] in this journey," Raina's Instagram post said
Suresh Raina, 33, has joined MS Dhoni in announcing his international retirement, he confirmed via press statements on Sunday after he had hinted at it through an Instagram post on Saturday. Raina's Instagram post came only minutes after Dhoni's retirement message on the same platform, and read: "It was nothing but lovely playing with you, @mahi7781 . With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you in this journey."
On Sunday, Raina put up a definitive statement - including a copy on Instagram - announcing that with a "lot of mixed feelings", he was announcing his retirement.
"With a lot of mixed feelings I'm able to make this announcement of my retirement. From a very young age, I as a small boy had literally lived Cricket on every street, gali and nukkad [nooks and corners] of my small town before making it to the Indian team. All I have known is cricket, all I have done is cricket & it runs through my veins. There hasn't been a single day without counting my blessings & without acknowledging everything I have received from god & my people who showered nothing but love on me.
"All I strived for was to value those blessings & give my everything in return to my game, to my country & everyone who has been a part of this journey. I had multiple surgeries, set backs & moments when I felt that this is it but I didn't stop or settle for anything which was not justified. It's been an incredible ride and it would not have been possible without everyone who supported me during my ups and downs," he said.
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Raina's international career began 15 years ago, in an ODI against Sri Lanka in July 2005. Even though he started with a golden duck in ODIs and a century in Tests, against the same opposition five years later, his limited-overs career was much more successful. In ODIs, he finished after 13 years - the last match in July 2018 in England - with 5615 runs from 226 games at an average of 35.31, with five centuries and 36 half-centuries. In 78 T20Is, he scored 1605 runs, averaging 29.18, at a strike rate of 134.87, also including a hundred a five fifties.
He was a part of India's first T20I, in South Africa in 2006, and was also the first Indian to score a T20I hundred, again against South Africa in the 2010 T20 World Cup in the Caribbean.
But Raina played only 18 Tests, the last of which came against Australia in January 2015 - in what was a comeback after a two-year gap - when he scored two ducks.
His attacking game combined with athletic fielding in the 30-yard circle made him a regular member of the ODI and T20I sides for many years, and he played his part in helping India win the 50-over World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy in 2013. He was also part of the runners-up India side in the 2014 T20 World Cup, which Sri Lanka won.
"Suresh Raina has been one of the key performers in limited overs cricket for India. Coming lower down the order and playing some of the match-winning knocks requires a lot of skill and talent. He along with Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni formed a solid middle order for India in ODIs. I wish him and his family all the very best," said BCCI president Sourav Ganguly .
Raina's retirement on the same evening as Dhoni's didn't come as too much of a surprise as the two are known to be close; the left-hand batsman played as many as 153 of his 226 ODIs under Dhoni. Raina also captained India in 12 ODIs between 2010 and 2014. In the IPL too, the two have had a long partnership, which will continue next month; Dhoni is the only IPL captain Raina has played under, except when Raina himself led Gujarat Lions.
In ODIs, Dhoni and Raina still hold the record for most runs scored for the fifth wicket overall, with a tally of 2421 that include five centuries and 13 half-centuries.