Suresh Raina ‘The Man’ is the new age Indian cricketer. An attacking left-hander who goes for the big shots with impunity and clears the field with a swashbuckling flourish when at the top of his game, Raina is also equally capable of attracting applause as an electric fielder in the circle.
It took him five years to cement his place as an India regular, moving from a limited-overs specialist who played 98 ODIs to one who became the 12th Indian to make a Test century on debut. For a while, it seemed Raina might have earned a long-term Test spot, but in England, in 2011 his lack of skill against pace, seam, and swing again opened up debates about his ability to be a consistent Test player for India.
In the shorter versions, though, there're no doubts about his talent. The ability to split the field and discover gaps where fielders could not be placed earned him high praise when he first burst through to play for India in December 2006. The early years, however, weren't so prolific, which led to his omission from the 2007 World Cup. He forced his way back with a mountain of runs in domestic cricket, and from June 2008 was prolific in ODIs too, enhancing his stature as one of India's responsible gen-next batsmen.
At the under-19 level, Raina was prodigious with his run-scoring and a string of double-hundreds took him to the Indian junior team and beyond it, to India colours. For a player of his ability, though, India must hope that Raina's best innings are still to be played.
In IPL, he played all first eight seasons for CSK and has been their go-to man. When the chips were down, he stood tall and bailed his side more often than not. After the franchise was handed a two-year ban, he joined the Gujarat Lions team and successfully lead his side till the semis in the 9th edition of the tournament. He is currently the leading run-getter in the history of the IPL.