MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina are not only known for their partnership on the field but also for a friendship that goes beyond the boundaries. From playing together for India to representing Chennai Super Kings to announcing their retirements on the same day, Raina and Dhoni share a great bond. The bond between Raina and Dhoni is rarely seen between two top-level cricketers and theirs is a pair that is immortal when it comes to India cricket’s fabled duos.
Their partnership was one among the 10-century stand that the two stalwarts have shared in international cricket, overall managing a partnership tally of 4354 runs at 48.37. This run tally includes 3484 runs in the ODI format itself which is the most by any pair for the fourth wicket or below in the format. They have overall batted 71 times in one-day matches for the fourth wicket or below and average 57.11 with nine-century stands.
Together they walked in, created a strong pair, won matches, created history and together bid adieu to the sport.
Suresh Raina shares his first meet with MSD
I remember when that was. I came across M.S. Dhoni for the first time during a Duleep Trophy match in Gwalior. It was February 2005, and I was representing Central Zone against East Zone, with Mahi Bhai as their wicketkeeper. He was quite a sight to behold. The long hair, the confident attitude, the self-belief and his hard-hitting. He had already made his international debut at that point, having played three ODIs in Bangladesh. But he had not made much of an impact. Neither of us scored too many runs in the game at Gwalior, but he did take my catch behind the wickets in the first innings.
Raina belief in MSD
Dhoni knew how to get the best performance out of me, and I trusted him. When people equate our connection with a spot for me in the Indian team, it hurts a lot. I’ve always worked hard to win my spot in Team India, just as I’ve earned Dhoni’s faith and respect,”. We are like partners in crime when it comes to pulling someone else’s leg. I’ve been at the receiving end too at times when he decides to turn on me. We’ve had an interesting relationship over the years. I have also gone through so much because of our friendship. Like the whole bias angle. People would say, ‘Oh, Raina gets picked because he is Dhoni’s friend.’ But people forget the contributions I have made for teams captained by him—India as well as CSK. That’s how you build trust in a player as captain.
At times I would say, ‘Humein Bhi upar khelna hai.’ But he would respond, ‘Nahi, tu at will chhakke marta hai . . .’ and say that the others, be it Rohit or Virat or Ajju (Ajinkya Rahane), we’re better off at the top of the order. I was more reliable in those situations. He knew my mindset. He knew what brought the best out of me. And I trusted him.
I have also gone through so much because of our friendship. Like the whole bias angle. People would say, ‘Oh, Raina gets picked because he is Dhoni’s friend.’ But people forget the contributions I have made for teams captained by him—India as well as CSK. That’s how you build trust in a player as captain.
MSD and Raina IRELAND moments
Suresh Raina also revealed that when India toured Ireland in 2018, MS Dhoni carried drinks for him and he also asked for plenty of bats and gloves. The keeper-batsman responded by poking fun at Raina when he asked Dhoni for grip as well amid the cold weather.
The best partnership between Raina and MSD
5. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni – 71 vs. Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2009
4. Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni – 82* vs. Sri Lanka, 2005
3. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina – 118 vs. England, 2006
2. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina – 103 runs vs. West Indies, 2011
1 MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina – 196* vs. Zimbabwe, ICC World Cup 2015