‘He deserved better’: Aakash Chopra reflects on Suresh Raina’s career – cricket

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India left-handed batsman Suresh Raina announced a sudden retirement from international cricket last week. Raina’s announcement came just a few minutes after former India captain MS Dhoni announced his decision to hang up his international boots. Both Raina and Dhoni posted posts on Instagram to reveal their decisions. Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra said that Raina’s announcement was completely unexpected.

“This was actually a bolt from the blue. And there are 2-3 reasons for that. Firstly, Raina is only 33 years old, so he is fairly young,” Chopra said in the latest video uploaded on his Youtube channel.

Also read: All bowlers, be careful of MS Dhoni: Irfan Pathan issues warning ahead of IPL 2020

“Second thing is that we had done an interview with Suresh Raina recently in which he regularly said that he was looking forward to play for India again. He said that he was doing his best and would be scoring a lot of runs. He said that after his knee surgery he was feeling stronger and hitting the ball well,” the former India batsman said.

“I was very happy because Raina is a special player and there were two T20 World Cups coming in two years, so why not Raina. Thirty-three is no age for a guy as fit as Suresh Raina,” he added. 

“And then he was posting videos on Instagram etc where he was regularly practicing and putting lot of effort. When you see someone putting so much effort, you feel that it is going to happen. In fact, the only thing I was looking forward to was him playing for CSK and scoring a lot of runs and forcing the selectors to pick him,” Chopra further explained.

Also read: MS Dhoni’s approach to cricket is spiritual, writes Sanjay Manjrekar

Chopra went on to recall the accomplishments Raina made in his cricketing career, and said that he was not handled properly in the ODIs by the Indian team. “He was the first Indian cricketer to score a century in Tests, ODIs and T20Is. After that KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma also did that, Virat Kohli has still not done it, T20 century is still pending. He scored a century on Test debut against Sri Lanka. After that his Test career was up and down but he did not get that many chances,” Chopra said.


“If you see the left-handers that India has produced to date, Suresh Raina’s name would be right up there. He was one of the finest left-handed batsmen that the country has produced, one of the best white-ball cricketers that the world has ever seen. If you include his IPL figures as well, then you will say a runaway match-winner and absolutely a champion player,” he added.

“There would be very few fielders you would get of his standard. He would be among the top 5, an all-round fielder. Because there are a lot of fielders who don’t catch well in the slips but are good in the outfield like Jaddu. Ravindra Jadeja is a gun fielder but it is slightly difficult in the slips. Even Jonty Rhodes couldn’t catch well in the slips. Suresh was one of the best fielders the world has ever seen,” he further said.

Also read: Dhoni always gave a clear picture to a player about what’s on his mind: Ashish Nehra in tribute

“Raina was also an under-rated bowler, the way he used to bowl with a clean action, putting the ball in one place and picking crucial wickets. It was like playing one extra man. I feel what happened with Suresh Raina in ODI cricket, everything was not correct. Because he was not given a proper batting number. He didn’t get the No.3 or No.4 position, he was always sent No.5 to No.7,” Chopra went on.

“Sometimes he was sent up and then demoted. If you shuffle someones batting order so much, then a lot of times you are not able to secure your place. But this player secured his place and won us matches as well.

“In fact, I remember the 2011 World Cup where he was batting at No.6 or No.7 and was not getting to bat. And then one day it came against Australia in the quarter-finals, where Yuvraj Singh played a match-winning innings but it was required for someone to stand at the other end and score at run-a-ball to take pressure off Yuvraj Singh and that’s exactly what he did. We remember that match for Yuvraj Singh but Raina had a very big contribution there,” he further said.

“Raina deserved better. I think Raina could have been handled a lot better. Because when he made a comeback also, in one of the three matches he scored 40-50 I think and in one match he remained not out and was dismissed early in the other match. But he did not get a chance after that,” Aakash Chopra signed off.

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