This man has been in the limelight for quite a while now, for all the good reasons, of course.
Way back in the year 1999, Suresh Raina could have only imagined himself being a part of the National team, when he moved from his hometown Ghaziabad to Lucknow to attend the government Sports College (Mohammed Kaif, too comes from the same college). After a successful under-19 campaign, Raina was then awarded a Border-Gavaskar scholarship to train at the Australian Cricket Academy. He returned to the domestic circuit, thereafter.
Later on, he made his first-class debut, where he scored 600 plus runs in the season, with a staggering average of 53.75. Although his international career began poorly with a “Golden Duck” off Muralitharan, he returned to cement his place in the team, all thanks to the sacking of Sourav Ganguly from the side. But again, a poor run of form and injury kept him out of action for a long time.
A left-handed batsman and an occasional off-spinner, Raina plays for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy and Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy. He played an instrumental role in Uttar Pradesh’s glory in the 2005-06 season. His exuberant batting skills and athletic ability in the field has impressed one and all. His excellent form in the Ranji Trophy in 2008 earned him another recall to the national side. Raina is yet to debut in the test arena.
IPL, for him has been a tremendous form of Twenty20 cricket. After a strong season in 2008, Raina established himself as a regular member of the Indian team in ODI’s as well as T20. In 2009, he had the fifth best economy rate in the IPL. This year, Raina was the most consistent player in the Chennai Super Kings squad, helped his team reach the finals with brilliant knocks coming off his bat and ultimately played an important role in the final, guiding his team to victory! Third highest run-getter and a Man-of-the-match in the tournament are just some of his credentials, not to forget his electric performance in the field with some really amazing catches.
The 21 year-old is having a fantastic cricketing experience and is currently the most talked-about player everywhere. Hope he continues to play in the same manner throughout his career.
Oh, and by the way India just emerged victorious against South Africa. Again, it was Suresh Raina who played the big knock with a mind boggling 101 off 60 balls. Well done, boy!
It was five years ago (2005) when a new teenager on the block walked up to the crease in Indian colours to face the demi-God of Lankan cricket.Yes,you guessed it right-Mutthiah Muralitharan,who was at his peak and simply unstoppable was to bowl to the very talented eighteen year old Suresh Raina. This was his debut match.
Raina,who only watched Murali bowl from outside the cricket field and heard the experts shower their praises on him realised what it was like to face the spin wizard when he was caught plumb in front of the stumps on the first ever ball in his international career. It was a delivery pitched short of length and Raina rocked onto the back foot to cut the ball and was too late to get his bat down realizing it was the wily doosra from Murali. A dejected Raina had a long walk back to the pavilion after a very inauspicious start to his career.
Five years on and Raina has transformed himself into a cautiously aggressive batsman and has cemented his place in the Indian ODI side. He lends solidarity to the middle order and has come up with a few match winning performances. His ability to adapt to any kind of situation and curb his attacking instincts has impressed many. He may not be having a great technique while defending the chin music and the greatest of footwork but surely has got a good defence and a wide range of strokes.
Raina played the most number of ODI’s by any player before entering the Test cricket arena(98 ODI’s,now more than 100) and his Test match career got off to a dream start with a hundred (120) against his name and shared a double hundred run partnership(256) with the batting God, Sachin Tendulkar.
Apart from all this, in the shortest version of the game Raina has made a mark for himself. In the ICC World Twenty20 he scored a ton against South Africa which made him the first Indian batsman to achieve the feat of scoring a hundred in International Twenty20 matches. His impressive talent in batting and fielding has provided a new dimension to team India and he is a real asset to the team.
Raina,who was sent packing on his first vigil at the crease by Muralitharan, has come quite a way and is now playing along with him for the franchisee Chennai Super Kings bringing about the transformation in him and a great level of maturity.