Raina joins Dhoni in retirement

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Suresh Raina, 33, has joined MS Dhoni in announcing his international retirement, PTI reported on Saturday evening. 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.”

Raina’s international career began over 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 5,615 runs from 226 games at an average of 35.31, with five centuries and 36 half-centuries. In 78 T20Is, he scored 1,605 runs, averaging 29.18, at a strike rate of 134.87, also including a hundred and 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.

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 2,421 that include five centuries and 13 half-centuries. (ESPNCricinfo)

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