Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina|File photo
Sports

Modi hails Raina for playing not for personal glory but for team and glory of India

By Harpal Singh Bedi/NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, August 21, 2020

After lavishing praise on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday hailed all rounder Suresh Raina, saying the cricketer played not for personal glory but for the glory of his team and the glory of India.

In a letter, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the all-rounder, who followed his former captain into retirement from international cricket on Saturday.

He said that not only would Raina be remembered for his batting but also for being an "exemplary and inspiring" fielder, adding "It would take days to count just the number of runs you have saved by your alertness on the field”.

The 33- year old Raina followed his close friend and captain Dhoni into retirement from international cricket last Saturday.

The Prime Minister said, "I do not want to use the word ‘retirement’ because you are way too young and energetic to retire."

Raina shared the letter on his social media account on Friday saying “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 Narendra Modiji for your words of appreciation & best wishes. I accept them with gratitude."

Modi also recalled watching the all-rounder at the Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad during the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals against Australia, saying "India can never forget your inspiring role" in that match.

"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."

"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," Modi added.

Raina was the first Indian cricketer to score a T20I century. He finished his One-Day International (ODI) career with 5,615 runs at an average of 35.13 and a strike rate of 93.50. He scored 1,605 runs in Twenty20 Internationals at an average 29.18 and a strike of 134.87. In Tests, he hit a century on debut against Sri Lanka in 2010 and totalled 768 runs from 18 Tests.

Following is the full text of the Prime Minister's letter to Raina:

Dear Suresh,

On 15th August, you decided to make what would surely have been one of the toughest decisions of your life. I do not want to use the word ‘retirement’ because you are way too young and energetic to ‘retire.’ You are padding up for the next innings of your life, after an extremely fruitful innings on the cricket field.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sportspersons are admired not only for their conduct on the field but also off the field. Your fighting spirit can motivate many youngsters. During your cricketing career, you sometimes faced setbacks including injuries but every time you overcame these challenges, thanks to your tenacity.

At the same time, 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 the opposing team’s wicket.

Your care and compassion towards society is visible in your numerous community service efforts. You have passionately supported efforts towards women empowerment, Swachh Bharat and helping the needy. I am glad you are attached to India’s cultural roots and proud of deepening youth’s connect with our glorious ethos as well as value systems.

I am confident you will have an equally fruitful and successful innings in whatever you wish to pursue in the times to come. I do hope you will use this opportunity to spend even more quality time with Priyanka, Gracia and Rio.

Thank you for doing whatever you can to make India a leader in sports and constantly inspiring young minds.

Yours,

Narendra Modi

NNN

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