Prime Minister Narendra Modi distinctly remembers Suresh Raina’s elegant cover drives during the epic 2011 World Cup quarter-final against Australia in Ahmedabad, something that, he feels, the all-rounder’s fans will miss after he followed Mahendra Singh Dhoni into international retirement.
The 33-year-old Raina, a member of the 2011 World Cup winning India team, announced his retirement on August 15, minutes after Dhoni decided to call it quits internationally.
“I do not want to use the word ‘retirement’ because you are too young and energetic to ‘retire’,” PM Modi, who also wrote a letter of appreciation to Dhoni, said in a two-page note to Raina, which he posted on his Twitter page on Friday.
“During your cricketing career, you sometimes faced setbacks including injuries but every time you overcame those challenges, thanks to your tenacity,” he said.
Raina, on his part, thanked the Prime Minister.
“When we play, we give our blood & sweat for the nation. No better appreciation than being loved by the people of this country and even more by the country’s PM. Thank you @narendramodi ji for your words of appreciation & best wishes. I accept them with gratitude. Jai Hind,” the cricketer tweeted.
In the letter, Modi recollected how much he enjoyed Raina’s most famous innings of 34 not out in a tricky run-chase against a formidable Australia in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final at Motera.
“India can never forget your inspiring role during the 2011 World Cup especially during the later matches. I saw you Live in action at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, during the Quarter Final against Australia. Your anchoring innings had a big role to play in our team’s victory. The PM also described Raina as the perfect team-man who enjoyed others’ successes.
“...Suresh Raina will always be synonymous with team spirit. You played not for personal glory but for the glory of your team and the glory of India.
“Your enthusiasm on the field was infectious and we could all witness that you would be among the first and most animated players to celebrate the fall of opposing team’s wicket,” the PM wrote.