Suresh Kumar Raina, an Indian former international cricketer, has beyond doubt showed himself to be a remarkable player in the limited-over formats of the game. He has ascertained his caliber many times as a lower-middle order left-handed batsman, an occasional off-spin bowler and no doubt, a terrific fielder in world cricket. Although, his performance in Test and ODIs have now and then been inconsistent, he, nevertheless, performed notably in T20I and IPL. He is known as China Thala among the fans of the franchise Chennai Super Kings and also nicknamed as Sonu by his family.
Childhood & Early Life
Raina was born on 27th November, 1986 in Muradnagar, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, where his father Trilok Chand, a retired military officer, had resettled.
He is the youngest of all siblings having three older brothers Dinesh, Naresh and Mukesh and one elder sister Renu. Ethnically, he belongs to the family of Pandit’s from Jammu and Kashmir, India.
In the year 2000, when he was of 14 years of age, Raina decided to focus on cricket. He moved to Lucknow to attend the Guru Gobind Singh Sports College, which is a specialist Government Sports College.
• In 2002, he had become the captain of the Uttar Pradesh U-16 team and came to be spotted by the Indian selectors who named him to the U-19 team for England. He was 15 and half years old then. He made two half-centuries there and was selected for the U-17 team for their tour of Sri Lanka in late 2002.
• In the year 2003, at 16 years of age, Raina made his debut in Ranji Trophy against Assam. In the same year, he was selected in U-19 team to Pakistan for the Asian ODI Championship in late 2003 and also for the U-19 World Cup in 2004. There, he scored three half-centuries which includes 90 runs on 38 balls.
• Because of his great form, he got an opportunity to get trained at the Australian Cricket Academy in Adelaide under the Border-Gavaskar scholarship.
• In 2005, Raina made his debut in the first-class limited overs. He scored total 645 runs at an average of 53.75. He was in Board President’s XI against Pakistan at Dharamshala. He also played for Astley & Tyldesley Cricket Club in the Lancashire League and in 12 matches scored 865 runs.
• He debut in ODIs was against Sri Lanka on 29th July, 2005 at 19 years of age he was got out for a duck on Muttiah Muralidharan ball.
• He played his first T20 match on 1st December, 2006 against South Africa.
• In 2008, Indian Premier League (IPL) was started. Chennai Super Kings bought him for $650k. He scored 421 runs having three fifties in it.
• Because of his T20 performance, he was selected for 2008 Asia Cup, in which he performed nicely. His capability to play great shots and outstanding fielding made him a crucial member of the ODI and T20 teams and he fixed his place in the lower-order in the team.
• In test, he made his debut against Sri Lanka on 26th July, 2010 on South Africa tour of India. He made a century in it.
• In the 2011 World Cup, he played crucial knocks for India scoring 34 not out against Australia in the quarter-final as well as 36 not out against Pakistan in the semi-final. These knocks were vital for India’s title win.
• He performed consistently remarkable in IPL. So, in 2014 he got place in the team during the Bangladesh tour. M.S. Dhoni was rested, so he captained the team and lead India to win the series.
• His performance in 2015 World Cup was good. Chennai Super Kings was suspended in the same year and he captained the Gujarat Lions team.
• He played his last test match on 10th January, 2015 against Australia and last ODI match on 17th July, 2016 against England.
• In 2017, Raina could not manage to cement his place in the team. BCCI dropped him from the Annual Retainership.
• He played his last T20 match on 8th July, 2018 against England.
• In 2018, ban was lifted from the Chennai Super Kings and he was bought for 11 crore ($1.7 million).
International arena accomplishments
• Raina is the first batsman from India to score centuries in all the three formats of cricket.
• He was awarded CEAT T20 International Player of the year in 2011.
• In Twenty20 career, Raina is the first Indian player to reach 6000 and 8000 runs.
• He is the first Indian batsman and third in the world to score a T20I century.
• He is the first batsman to hit a century in T20I and in World T20 history while batting at number 3 position or lower.
• Raina is the twelfth player of India to hit a century on his debut Test match.
• He has the highest runs in the Champions League T20 (842 runs).
• He has scored the most number of fifties in CLT20 history(6).
Indian Premier League(IPL) accomplishments
• He is the second highest run getter in IPL behind Virat Kohli.
• In 2019, he became the first cricketer to reach 5,000 runs in IPL.
• Raina is the only player to score runs above 400 in seven consecutive IPL seasons i.e. from 2008 to 2014.
• Raina is the first and only cricketer of India to hit a century in T20I, CLT20 and IPL.
• He has caught the maximum number of catches (95) in the IPL.
• He is first Indian player and next to Chris Gayle to hit 100 sixes in the IPL.
• Raina has a record of maximum consecutive appearances i.e. 158 for Chennai Super Kings.
Beyond cricket – Personal Life
On 3rd April, 2015, Raina tied the knot with his friend since childhood Priyanka Chaudhary. They have a daughter named Gracia Raina. On her daughter’s first birthday, Raina and his wife announced the launch of Gracia Raina Foundation which is the non-profit organization. It promotes the welfare of mothers who are not privileged enough mothers as well as their children throughout the country. The couple also has a son named Rio in 2020.
Being a big fan of Rahul Dravid, in 2012, Raina expressed his views in an article in book Rahul Dravid: Timeless Steel.
In 2015, Raina sang a Bollywood song ‘Tu Mili Sab Mila’ from the film ‘Meeruthiya Gangster’. In 2018, he lent his voice to the song ‘Bitiya Rani’ to encourage girls support on behalf of the radio show of his wife ‘The Priyanka Raina Show’.
He has played 226 ODIs, 78 T20Is and 18 tests for India, scoring 5,615 runs in ODI cricket at an average of 35.31, 1,605 runs in T20Is at an average of 29.18, 768 runs in test matches at an average of 26.48. In IPL, he has scored 5,368 runs in 193 matches in 12 seasons at an average of 33.34.
His highest score in ODIs is 116 not out, total 5 100s and 36 50s; in tests is 120, total 1 century and 7 50s; in T20Is is 101, total 1 century and 5 50s. Till 2019, in IPL his highest score is 100 not out, total 1 century and 38 50s.
Though an occasional off spin bowler, he has taken 36 wickets in ODIs, 13 wickets in T20Is and 13 wickets in test matches. His best bowling figure is 3/34 I ODI. In IPL, he has taken 25 wickets till 2019.
At the age of 33, Raina announced his retirement from international cricket on 15th August, 2020 along with former India captain M.S. Dhoni.
He will be seen playing in the upcoming IPL in United Arab Emirates from September 19, 2020.