Who is Suresh Raina?
Suresh Raina is an Indian professional cricketer who has a proved himself an invaluable player in limited-over formats of the game. He was a member of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) team Gujarat Lions. Currently, he plays for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL and has previously played for Chennai Super Kings for eight seasons. He has never missed a match for his original IPL team, CSK. He is exceptionally talented in T20 matches, which he has proved through his remarkable consistency in the IPL, scoring the most runs in the history of the competition. As a result, he is often called to strengthen the Indian T20 side even if he is out of the ODI or Test teams. However, his performance in Test and ODI formats have been inconsistent to say the least. Despite gaining attention early in his youth for his superb domestic career, he has been unable to replicate the same success in the international sphere. Nevertheless, he has often times proved his worth as a lower-middle order batsman, a terrific fielder and an occasional bowler, and had significant contribution in India's second World Cup win in 2011.
Childhood & Early Life
Suresh Raina was born on November 27, 1986 in Muradnagar, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, where his father Trilok Chand, a retired military officer, had relocated. His father, a member of the Kashmiri Pandit community, is originally from Rainawari, in Jammu & Kashmir, while his mother is from Dharmashala, Himachal Pradesh.
He has three older brothers Dinesh Raina, Naresh Raina and Mukesh Raina and one elder sister Renu. Dinesh, who is eight years older than Suresh, is a school teacher.
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In 2000, at the age of 14, Suresh Raina decided to focus on cricket and moved to Lucknow to attend the specialist government college, Guru Gobind Singh Sports College. By 2002, he had become the captain of the Uttar Pradesh U-16 team and caught the attention of national selectors who named the 15 and half years old boy to the U-19 team for England.
He made a couple half-centuries as part of the U-19 team, and was selected for the U-17 team for their tour of Sri Lanka in late 2002. In February 2003, at the age of 16, he made his Ranji Trophy debut against Assam, playing only one match.
He was again named to the U-19 team to Pakistan for the Asian ODI Championship in late 2003 and for the 2004 U-19 World Cup, in which he scored three half-centuries. His tremendous form gave him an opportunity to train at the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide under the Border-Gavaskar scholarship.
In January 2005, he made his List A debut against Madhya Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy one-day tournament and scored 94 on debut in the Deodhar Trophy, aggregating 645 runs in 15 matches. He was selected for Board President's XI against Pakistan at Dharmasala in March and in April played for Astley & Tyldesley Cricket Club in the Lancashire League, scoring 865 runs in 12 matches.
Suresh Raina made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka on July 29, 2005, but fell for a first-ball duck to a Muttiah Muralidaran doosra. Despite showing potential in First Class cricket, he struggled to perform throughout 2006, and had an average of only 27.77 in 26 ODIs.
During the end of 2006, he was dropped from the squad following poor performance in the ODI series against South Africa. Chennai Super Kings bought him for $650k in the 2008 IPL, which he finished with 421 runs including three fifties.
His performance in T20 did not go unnoticed as he was recalled to the Indian side for the 2008 Asia Cup, in which he showed good performances. This time he utilized the opportunity to cement his place in the team, even though he had to settle for lower-order due to the solid top-order line-up.
With his exceptional performance in the limited-over matches, he was called into the Indian Test team for the second Test during South Africa's tour to India in 2010. While he was not included into the playing XI in that match, he made a century on his debut match against Sri Lanka on July 26, 2010.
His weakness against short deliveries was exposed during the England Test series in 2011, and he was dropped from the Test squad after averaging 28 in 16 Tests. However, his ability to play quick knocks and his impeccable fielding made him a vital member of the ODI and T20 teams.
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He scored 34 not out against Australia and 36 not out against Pakistan in the quarter-final and semi-final of the World Cup 2011, which were crucial for India's title win. He also earned praise for his match winning innings against Sri Lanka in 2012 and England in 2013, scoring four consecutive half-centuries in the latter series.
With his consistent performance in IPL, he has achieved the remarkable feat of scoring over 400 runs in each season till 2014, followed by 374, 399 and 442 in the next three years. He is the highest run scorer in IPL, and also has century to his name, which he scored against Punjab in 2013.
He failed to bat well in the series against West Indies in November 2013, but compensated with his fielding and part-time bowling. While he was able to secure place in the Indian team for South Africa and New Zealand tours, his poor performance resulted in him being dropped from the squad for the Asia Cup.
Riding on his IPL success, he returned to the team during the Bangladesh tour in 2014, in which he led India to series win as captain after skipper M.S. Dhoni was rested. In the following tour to England, he scored a match-changing 75-ball 100 which set the tone for India's 3-1 series win.
He performed well in the 2015 World Cup, but after poor show against South Africa in October 2015, he was again dropped from the ODI side. Following the suspension of CSK, he was named the captain of the Gujarat Lions team.
Awards & Achievements
Suresh Raina is the first Indian batsman to score centuries in all the three formats of the game.
He is the top run scorer in IPL with 4540 runs and is the only player to have scored over 400 runs in 7 consecutive IPL seasons.
Personal Life & Legacy
Suresh Raina married his childhood friend Priyanka Chaudhary on April 3, 2015. While they were from the same locality and knew each other as children, the marriage was arranged by their mothers while he was in Australia for the Cricket World Cup.
They have a daughter named Gracia Raina who was born on May 14, 2016 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. On the occasion of her first birthday, he and his wife announced the launch of the non-profit organization, Gracia Raina Foundation, which promotes the well-being of underprivileged mothers and their children across the country.
In September 2015, Suresh Raina lent his voice to the Bollywood song 'Tu Mili Sab Mila' from the film 'Meeruthiya Gangster'. In January 2018, he sang the song 'Bitiya Rani' to promote support for girls on behalf of his wife's radio show 'The Priyanka Raina Show'.