Minutes after MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on Saturday, August 15, Suresh Raina joined him in his 'journey' and retired.
Taking to Twitter, Raina shared a picture and wrote: "It was nothing but lovely playing with you, @mahi7781. With my heart full of pride, I choose to join you in this journey. Thank you India. Jai Hind!
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined in to pay tribute to the former India skipper, calling him not just a sportsperson but a phenomenon, which was much appreciated by MSD.
In a tweet on Friday, Raina shared the letter of appreciation from PM Modi and wrote in the caption, "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!"
Recalling the initial days of Raina's career, PM Modi wrote in the letter: "You have lived and breathed cricket. Your interest in the sport began early in life, in the by-lanes of Muradnagar and subsequently found feet in the playgrounds of Lucknow. There on, what an eventful journey it has been, culminating in the most important honour of representing India - a country you love deeply - in all three forms of the game." He further appreciated the spectacular fielding of the all-rounder and his batting, particularly, in the shortest format of the game.
"Generations will remember you not only as a fine batsman but also as a very useful bowler who the captain could turn to when the situation demanded. Your fielding was exemplary and inspiring. Some of the best catches in recent international cricket have your distinctive imprint. It would take days to count just the number of runs you have saved by your alertness on the field," the letter read.
"As a batsman, you especially distinguished yourself across all mediums and particularly in the newest form of the game, the T-20 cricket. This is not an easy format. In tune with our times, it requires quick fixes in double-quick time. Again, your promptness and speed were assets for this form," it added.
Reminiscing the 2011 World Cup and Raina's "inspiring" role during the tournament, the Prime Minister said, "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, Ahmedabad, during the Quarter Final against Australia. Your anchoring innings had a big role to play in our team's victory. I can confidently say that most fans will miss seeing your elegant cover drives, one which I was lucky to witness live that day," adding, "Raina will always be synonymous with the team spirit," and wished him for his post-retirement innings.
Most of Raina's international appearances came under Dhoni's captaincy. He scored 5,615 runs in 226 ODI matches, which included five centuries and 1,605 runs, including one century in 78 T20Is. He was the first Indian player to score a century in T20I cricket and the first from the country to score a century in all three formats of the game.
Although he scored a hundred on Test debut, Raina managed to play only 18 games in the longest format and scored 768 runs. His century on debut was also his only ton in the longest format of the game.
Renowned for his ability in the field, Raina was part of the Indian teams that won the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy, both under the captaincy of Dhoni.
Here are some reactions on Modi's tribute to Raina: