At the raw age of 18, a fresh-faced Suresh Raina broke into the Indian ODI squad with a reputation of possessing loads of talent, similar to the way Yuvraj Singh broke into the international scenes in cricket. However, Raina's career has since resembled a cardiograph showing variable readings at different junctures of his career.
Making his debut against Sri Lanka, Raina fell for a first-ball duck to a Muttiah Muralidaran doosra in 2005. But a determined effort to validate his selection soon hallmarked his approach. Often, after disappointments at the international level, Raina came back with strong domestic displays in the Ranji Trophy and the Indian T20 League to knock hard on the doors of selectors.
When he returned after being dropped for a year-and-half in 2008, three centuries and a string of half-centuries marked his renewed desire to make the most of opportunities, an intent highlighted by three stand-out knocks in the 2008 Asia Cup. By the time Raina made a commanding century on his Test debut against Sri Lanka in 2010, he already had ample limited overs experience with nearly a 100 ODIs, three successful seasons of the Indian T20 League and a captaincy stint; all at the age of 23. However, Raina's shaky technique against quality pace bowling and more importantly his inefficiency to tackle steep bounce kept him on the shores of the Test squad more often than not.
In 2011, he was amongst the 15 Indian players who saw history being created at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, where the Men in Blue lifted the coveted World Cup trophy after 28 long years. Be it a well-timed innings or part time spin bowling or leaping around on the field taking brilliant catches and saving crucial runs, there is an underlying sincerity in whatever Raina does on the cricket field. Raina has been the crux of India's fielding revolution that saw the theory of lazy and sloppy efforts being thrown out of the window in Indian cricket. With age on his side, Raina's only current concern will be to chalk and polish his technique against the short delivery and turn into a regular in the Indian Test squad. Raina has an immaculate impression in the Indian T20 league and hence, Chennai retained him for the seventh season in 2014.