The IPL is full of surprises and memorable moments. Here are my moments of today:
The return of Suresh Raina: Several questions about his commitment over the past year, but he came back in style. The hoicks & cuts are back. 4 sixes. With Moeen Ali, it was exactly the impetus CSK were missing last year in the middle overs.
Dhawan-Shaw Make a Mark: Dhawan 85, Shaw 72, 138 opening partnership. With the declaration that Kohli-Sharma will open in the World T20I world cup and KL Rahul & Ishan Kishan as reserves, Shikhar Dhawan & Prithvi Shaw seem to be out of the reckoning. With a 23-man squad possible now, commanding performances like today will help their cases. Just toyed with the field!
The Battle of the Currans:In the penultimate over of the 1st innings, Tom Curran came to bowl in the death to Sam Curran. 2 fours, 2 sixes, and 23 runs later, the younger brother wins the battle.
Honorable Mentions:Free-flowing Moeen Ali, impressive Avesh Khan, 3 catches for Gabbar!
Broken Cricket Dream of the Day
MS Dhoni – #DhoniReturns was trending on twitter, but did not get much batting time as he was bowled for a duck.
CSK improved on the batting front with ‘intent,’ but with only specialist cutters (Bravo-Thakur-Chahar), the bowling was not threatening at all.
R Ashwin was the only DC player with an off day. Expensive 47 runs in 4 overs was not his best performance
More dropped catches….Santner, Bravo, Gaikwad the culprits this time around
IPL 2021 Points Table
No need to go elsewhere for the Points Table. We will keep updating it in every article!
Net Run Rate
1. Delhi Capitals
2. Royal Challengers Bangalore
3. Mumbai Indians
4. Chennai Super Kings
Kolkata Knight Riders
IPL 2021 Points Table
The Kolkata Knight Riders take on Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai. Who do you think will win this one?
Also, if you have not yet read our IPL Previews, here is a list of all of them! Check them out and share ahead:
April 2, 2011—”Dhoni finishes it off in style…India lift the World Cup after 28 years.” Exactly 10 years from the World Cup victory, it is possibly the final time we will see captain MS Dhoni & his eternal partner in crime, Suresh Raina.
After a disappointing 2020 season, do MS Dhoni & Suresh Raina have one final memory for the fans?
Shardul Thakur – Since the historic India vs Australia series, Shardul Thakur has been India’s X-factor, taking crucial wickets in the middle overs. The highest wicket-taker in both the England T20Is & ODIs, he is one to watch out for.
Youngsters – Tamil Nadu won the Syed Mushtaq Ali this year with Hari Nishaanth, Jagadeesan, and S Rai Kishore. With Ruturaj’s coming of age in IPL 2020, these bunch will give CSK the much needed age balance.
Where Can Things Go Wrong For the Super Kings?
The lack of out and out pace – Thakur, Chahar, Sam Curran, & Dwayne Bravo are all smart bowlers, but none have pace to send shivers through the opposition batsmen. With 8/14 of CSKs games at historically high scoring venues of Mumbai & Bangalore, I am not sure if they have enough variation in their attack. Tahir, R Sai Kishore, Jadeja, Gowtham, Moeen Ali, Santner, Karn Sharma would be a dream attack in Chennai, but no home advantage in COVID induced era has thrown their plans off.
*Note: There is no home advantage in IPL 2021. Here is how “Home vs Away” is divided.
10 April: CSK vs DC (Mumbai)
16 April: PBKS vs CSK (Mumbai)
19 April: CSK vs RR (Mumbai)
21 April: KKR vs CSK (Mumbai)
25 April: CSK vs RCB (Mumbai)
28 April: CSK vs SRH (Delhi)
1 May: MI vs CSK (Delhi)
5 May: RR vs CSK (Delhi)
7 May: SRH vs CSK (Delhi)
9 May: CSK vs PBKS (Bangalore)
12 May: CSK vs KKR (Bangalore)
16 May: CSK vs MI (Bangalore)
21 May: DC vs CSK (Kolkata)
23 May: RCB vs CSK (Kolkata)
25 May: Qualifier 1 (Ahmedabad)
26 May: Eliminator (Ahmedabad)
28 May: Qualifier 2 (Ahmedabad)
30 May: Final (Ahmedabad)
Return of Raina, addition of Uthappa/Pujara, & youngsters might bolster the lineup, but the lack of home advantage would be too much to cope with. If they can win a few of the first 5 matches in Mumbai, they should have a settled lineup in Delhi.
Game Plan: Simple. Win at least 3 out of the first 5. Otherwise out of the reckoning early.
R Sai Kishore
Broken Cricket Dream
MS Dhoni, Imran Tahir retire forever?
Chennai Super Kings Preview Predictions
What do you think of the Chennai Super Kings Preview? Your First XI? Will they make the IPL 2021 qualifiers?
Apart for Faf du Plessis’s acrobatics and consistency at the top of the order and the revelation in Sam Curran, nothing is going right for the Chennai Super Kings. Even Ravindra Jadeja is dropping catches and missing direct hits.
Let us find out why.
After the 7th game, here are 7 Reasons Why CSK Are Struggling.
Botched chases have been common for CSK this year. Taking the game deep is no longer an option. Here is CSK’s score at the halfway stage (10 over mark) in each of their games:
70/2 chasing 163 vs. Mumbai Indians (Won)
82/4 chasing 217 vs. Rajasthan Royals (Lost)
47/3 chasing 176 vs. Delhi Capitals (Lost)
44/4 chasing 165 vs. Sunrisers Hyderabad (Lost)
101/0 chasing 179 vs. Kings XI Punjab (Won)
90/1 chasing 168 vs. Kolkata Knight Riders (Lost)
47/2 chasing 170 vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore (Lost)
Two phrases that have come up in every post-match analysis thus far?
Lack of urgency and lack of intent. On air, Kevin Pietersen was extremely critical of Ambati Rayudu’s absence of intensityand energy in running between the wickets in his innings of 42 (40) against RCB.
In each game lost, there has been similar innings’ from the middle order.
Dhoni 9(12) (before hitting 3 sixes to get to 29 (17) and the team to 200 vs RR)
Vijay’s 10 (15) and Watson’s 14 (16) vs DC
Dhoni and Jadeja pushing the required rate up. Needed 78 off 24 before accelerating vs. SRH
Kedar Jadhav’s 7 (12) vs. KKR
Rayudu’s 40 (42) vs. RCB
The lack of game time is causing each batsman to bide their time, which is hurting the team’s overall performance. Maybe Sam Curran and Ravindra Jadeja should be pushed up the order in the next few games.
You can play for the Net Run Rate as much as you want….but you need the points on the Points Table in the first place for all that to even matter.
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni are known to back people even when they are struggling. The most famous example is the team management persisting with Shane Watson. Watson repaid the faith in 2018 qualifiers/finals and almost took them home in 2019 as well.
Even this year Shane Watson came back with an unbeaten 83*(53) after struggling initially.
The downside of backing match-winners? Players of the quality of Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Josh Hazlewood, and Mitchell Santner are warming the bench and young Indian talent like Jagadeesan not getting many chances.
And of course, the older the squad, the lower the fielding standards.
Where Can CSK Go From Here?
Is there still hope? Yes. CSK fan’s are recalling the 2010 campaign, when they came back from a similar position to win their maiden IPL trophy.
The Chennai Super Kings can still win, but they need to up their intensity, correct their batting order, put faith in youngsters, utilize the mid-season transfer window wisely, and some magic.
My take? Every great team has its ebbs and flows. Even a once-in-a-generation Spain football (soccer) team of the 2010 FIFA World Cup glory had to bow out in the group stages after an unbeaten run.
Every good thing comes to an end.
Some people are calling Shane Watson to retire. Others have been calling for Dhoni’s. I think it is time that the entire CSK team just retire.
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni have led CSK to greatness consistently for over a decade. It is time the Chennai Super Kings start afresh again.
2020 has been a grim year. CSK not qualifying for the playoffs will just set that in stone.
CSK All-Time XI, let us start with the obvious. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina – the twin retirements that shook the world. Now that international cricket is off their mind, who knows they might play even better!
In the All-Time CSK XI, Thala and chinna thala are the two pillars of CSK, but who else is a guarantee?
Even after the two year exodus, CSK has come back with the ‘Dad’s Army’ and won it in style. How long can do they with these old stars? Only time will tell.
CSK has ALWAYS made it to the playoffs—they are just that good. When the odds are in their favor, they win. When the odds are not in their favor, they definitely win.
Anyway, VOTE BELOW AND SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS!
Meanwhile, here is our All-Time CSK XI.
*Note: CSK were banned between 2016-2017, so these players played for other teams then.
In slow turning Chennai pitches, Ashwin, Jadeja, Jakati, and Harbhajan have all played monumental roles – can you fit all four of them in?
At the top of the order, it seems CSK have a revolving door of Australians – Matthew Hayden made way for Mike Hussey, who was eventually replaced by Shane Watson (there is a Faf in the mix too). Who do you pick?
Who are the best fielders in cricket history? Today, we answer that exact question.
Discussing the best fielders in cricket history is hardly a debate. Jonty Rhodes is the best cricket fielder of all-time, with Paul Collingwood, Ravindra Jadeja, Andrew Symonds, Ricky Ponting, Brendon McCullum, AB De Villiers, and Herschelle Gibbs coming close behind.
There have been plenty of great fielders in cricket—Great slip catchers, forward short leg specialists, direct hitters, etc. Today we create a list of 32 best cricket fielders of all-time and produce a modern day XI comprising of just fielding legends. Here is a quick preview of the Top 32 Cricketers of All Time (by country): India surprisingly makes #1 with 9 best cricket fielders of all time, South Africa with 6, Australia with 5, and New Zealand with 4 in the best fielders in cricket history list.
Best Fielders in Cricket History (By Country)
Number of Players
Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Eknath Solkar, Kapil Dev, Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin
Jonty Rhodes, AB De Villiers, Herschelle Gibbs, Colin Bland, Faf du Plessis, Jacques Kallis
Ricky Ponting, Steven Smith, Andrew Symonds, Glenn Maxwell, Mark Waugh
Martin Guptill, Trent Boult, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor
Kieron Pollard, Roger Harper, Gus Logie
Paul Collingwood, Ben Stokes
Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene
Today’s Twist – Best Fielders in Cricket History Who Can Form a Playing XI
Suresh Raina’s retirement received numerous tributes, especially on his fielding. In a conversation with Harsha Bhogle, Raina was asked from a list of 10 great fielders, which 5 would he choose to field in the inner circle.
This inspired us to do another post on World XI: With Twists, this time made up of the best fielders in cricket history.
Create a World XI consisting of the best fielders in the modern game. The twist is that these best fielders should be able to play together in a match. Hence, we need to have at least one player who could also be a wicket-keeper (2nd skill) as well as five players who could bowl, preferably two fast bowlers.
There have been numerous wonderful fielders in the past, so to narrow our search, we also have the following constraints:
We make a distinction between fielding and catching. Fielding consists of direct-hits, diving stops, and acrobatic catches. Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, and Jacques Kallis have stellar records as catchers and are in the extended squad.
Specialist wicketkeepers like Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher are not considered. However, AB De Villiers, Brendon McCullum, and Dravid are considered since they regularly played both roles.
Catches Win Matches
There have been several middle-order batsmen with great fielding skills, but then who would bowl? We would love to stack our line-ups with the great South African and Australian batsmen, but we need to keep the balance of the side in mind.
Best Fielders in Cricket History: Modern Era
Here is our XI. We have an XI consisting of 3 Australians, 2 South-Africans and Kiwis, along with 1 player each from Sri Lanka, India, England, and the West-Indies.
We have a left-arm pace bowler (Boult), Collingwood and Pollard with their medium pace dibbly-dobblies, Jadeja the left arm spinner, and Symonds/Dilshan contributing part-time off spin overs. AB De Villiers will keep the gloves. I would love to have Herschelle Gibbs or Mohammad Kaif in my XI—a useful lower order batsman, but then we would have to either drop a wicket-keeper or a bowler.
Martin Guptill is known for his incredible fielding skills, which include taking diving catches, running out opponents and snatching boundary catches. He was also the hero of several match-saving moments like his direct hit against MS Dhoni in the 2019 Cricket World Cup Semi-Final. His ability to play any position on the field, combined with his quick reflexes, make him one of the best fielders in the world.
Tillakaratne Dilshan is known for his brilliant fielding skills, especially at the backward point position, where he frequently takes catches and bowleds as well as diving saves. His quick reflexes are what makes him one of the best fielders in the game.
Ricky Ponting, the pillar of Australian national cricket team, was known for his stellar fielding skills, especially in the mid-on and mid-off positions. He was capable of taking direct hits and making spectacular run outs with accurate throws from any part of the field. His hat-trick of run-outs against South Africa in a Test match in 2006 is one of the best examples of his fielding prowess. He was also capable of taking catches and saving boundaries with ease. His ability to read the game and anticipate the play ensured that he was always in the right position when it mattered.
Steven Smith’s fielding skills are often overlooked due to his batting prowess. He is a brilliant fielder and takes one-handed diving catches with ease, especially at the 2nd slip or backward point position. His agility and quick reflexes have made him one of the best fielders in cricket and he has pulled off some stunning catches over the years.
Jonty Rhodes single-handedly revolutionized fielding, with his diving catches and direct hits becoming the stuff of legends. His amazing reflexes combined with his agility made him one of the best fielders in the game. He was capable of taking spectacular catches at backward point or third man, making running run-outs almost effortless and snatching direct hits while everyone else could only watch in awe. He was truly a master of his craft and the perfect example for modern fielders to look up to. He has left an indelible mark on the game with their sublime fielding skills. He will always be remembered as the best fielder in cricket history.
South African national team will forever be indebted to Rhodes for establishing the fielding legacy that is now associated with them.
The Proteas have another great fielder in Ab De Villiers. He is an all-rounder, known for his acrobatic diving catches and incredible reflexes. His ability to take spectacular catches at 2nd/3rd slip, wicketkeeper and backward point made him a vital part of the South African team’s fielding unit.
Paul Collingwood deserves a mention as one of the best cricket fielder the world has ever seen. His exemplary fielding skills at backward point made him an invaluable asset to the English team over the years. He was known for his incredible reflexes and acrobatic one-handed diving catches, like the famous Matthew Hayden catch during an Ashes series.
Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was a brilliant fielder in his own right. His fielding prowess at short cover/short mid-on, and short mid-off positions was legendary, known primarily for his direct hits. He had an uncanny ability to anticipate the play and execute perfect run-outs even from seemingly impossible situations.
No list of the best fielders in cricket is complete without Ravindra Jadeja. The all-rounder from the Indian cricket team has been a vital part of their fielding unit since his debut, known specifically for his rocket throws from backward point and direct hits. From Indian Premier League to international cricket, he has made his name with fielding heroics.
Kieron Pollard is one of the most athletically gifted fielders in cricket. His ability to take boundary-rider catches, or pull off one-handed dives to save runs has been a key part of West Indies’ fielding display over the last decade. Former captain and a retired international now, he can play with freedom for the rest of his career.
Trent Boult is a valuable asset to the New Zealand cricket team. His fielding skills at boundary and cover point are remarkable, known for taking sensational catches on the ropes or sprinting back from deep mid-wicket for spectacular one-handed grabs. He has also taken some of the greatest caught & bowled wickets in recent years as well.
One of the most memorable fielders in cricket, Brendon McCullum is a special mention for his superhuman fielding skills. His catching ability at cover-point and wicketkeeping was second to none. He was known for taking amazing diving saves in tight situations, no matter how hard the ball was hit, making him an outstanding ground fielder. One of the most charismatic cricket personalities at the Brisbane Cricket Ground in the Big Bash, India in the IPL, and back at home as captain.
Mohammad Kaif was one of the most important fielders for the Indian team and his contribution towards revolutionizing their fielding standards will always be remembered. His ability to take catches at backward point, cover, long on, or long off were exemplary. His catch diving over Dinesh Mongia against Pakistan in 2004 still gives me chills.
Yet another South African cricketer in the list. Herschelle Gibbs was a brilliant fielder during his playing days and his name is still remembered for his outstanding run-outs and diving catches. He was known for taking some spectacular catches at backward point or cover, and then there were the run-outs which helped South Africa win many important matches. One of the most electric fielders in the history of cricket.
The former Indian cricketer, Suresh Raina is remembered for his energy and enthusiasm on the field. He was the perfect example of how a fielder should be. His catches at backward point or cover are still talked about, particularly those sensational one-handers which he made look so easy. His quick reflexes at short mid-wicket made him a valuable asset to the Indian team.
The Aussie all-rounder, Glenn Maxwell is an outstanding fielder and has pulled off some miraculous catches and saves in the deep. His passion for the game and his high energy levels on the field make him a fan favorite. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest modern-day fielders in cricket history.
Another Indian international cricket on the list, Yuvraj Singh will always be remembered as a great fielder alongside Kaif & Raina. He was an exceptional fielder at backward point and his catches were often described as ‘effortless’. His fielding contributed to many of India’s victories.
The former Indian cricketer Eknath Solkar was one of the greatest short leg fielders in the world. He was an outstanding fielder at the forward short leg position. He is remembered as one of the finest.
The former Indian captain, Virat Kohli needs no introduction. He is probably the most complete cricketer in the world right now and an outstanding fielder to add to it. His low-diving catches, quick reflexes and athleticism are unmatched. Probably the greatest ODI player, the Indian international cricketer is an inspiration to many aspiring cricketers out there.
The former South African cricketer, Faf du Plessis is world-renowned for his boundary saves and acrobatic catches. To be able to take those seemingly impossible catches without any effort, he will be regarded as one of the excellent fielders of the era.
The former Indian captain, Kapil Dev was known for his running catches at the square leg position. He was an outstanding fielder and had a great eye to judge where the ball was going. His catch in the 1983 World Cup final has gone down as one of the best ever seen on a cricket field.
The former Pakistani cricketer, Shahid Afridi was an excellent fielder at mid off, long on and long off. He had the ability to judge the flight of the ball accurately and take running catches. One of his most memorable catches was the 2009 T20 World Cup where he took a spectacular catch diving forward.
The current English cricketer, Ben Stokes is an outstanding fielder. He has the ability to take one-handed catches at the boundary and deep cover positions with ease. His unbelievable catch against South Africa during the 2019 World Cup is one of the best ever seen in cricket history. Nasser Hussain’s “You Cannot Do That, Ben Stokes” captured that moment vividly in history.
Rahul Dravid was the first cricketer to 200 Test catches. He was well renowned for his slip-catching ability, regularly taking catches with both hands in the most difficult of positions. He set a benchmark for others to follow and is one of the greatest ever slip fielders. He also lead India numerous times, as a captain, fielder, and the unbreakable Wall. Now, Team India’s current coach.
29. Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka, 218 ODI Catches, 205 Test Catches, 17 T20I Catches)
Mahela Jayawardene is the most prolific fielder across formats.
He holds the record of 218 ODI catches, 205 Test catches, and 17 T20I catches. He was an outstanding fielder at the slip with a safe pair of hands. Jayawardene set the benchmark for modern day cricket in terms of fielding in all three formats.
30. Jacques Kallis (South Africa, 200 Test catches)
Truly an all-round cricketer. Kallis was a fine fielder at the slip position and holds the record for most catches taken by a South African cricketer in Test cricket – 200. He took some outstanding catches during his illustrious career and is one of the best slip fielders ever.
Honorable Mentions: Yajurvindra Singh, Alastair Cook, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Jimmy Anderson, Stephen Fleming
Cricket Philosophy: T20 Cricket Has Helped Improve Fielding Standards
Ever since T20 cricket came into existence, there has always been a debate between Test vs T20— traditional vs newer ideas.
I think there is space for both formats to coexist. Regardless, the one benefit from 21st century technology and T20 cricket is the focus on fitness. In a fast-paced T20 game, a run-out or diving save can change the outcome of the match.
Therefore, we have witnessed a large number of incredible efforts on the boundary in recent years. Fielding is no longer an ‘extra’ skill—it is now the norm.
Anyway, slightly older video, but I am going to leave you with few of the best catches in cricket below. Enjoy, SUBSCRIBE, and comment below who your favorite fielders/ best fielding memories are.
Best Fielders in Cricket History – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who is the best fielder in cricket history?
Jonty Rhodes from South Africa is considered the best fielder of all time in cricket.
Who are the Top 5 fielders in cricket history?
Jonty Rhodes (South Africa), Paul Collingwood (England), Andrew Symonds (Australia), Ricky Ponting (Australia), and Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) are considered the Top 5 cricket fielders in the history of the game.
Which fielder has the most catches in Test match cricket?
Rahul Dravid (210), Mahela Jayawardene (205), Jacques Kallis (200), Ricky Ponting (181), and Alastair Cook (175) took the most catches in Test match cricket.
Which fielder has the most catches in ODI cricket?
Mahela Jayawardene (218), Ricky Ponting (160), Mohammad Azharuddin (156), Ross Taylor (142), and Sachin Tendulkar (140) has the most catches in ODI cricket.
Who was the best cricket fielder in the slip position?
Rahul Dravid, Mahela Jayawardene, and Jacques Kallis are considered the best slip fielders of all-time.
Who was the best cricket fielder in cover position?
Colin Bland from South Africa is considered the best fielder in the cover position.
Who was the best cricket fielder in the forward short-leg position?
Eknath Solkar from India is considered to be the best fielder in the forward short leg position.
Sources: YouTube (Videos) Image Courtesy: JontyRhodes8 JontyRhodes8 / CC BY-SA, (Featured Image) – Paul Venter via CC SA 3.0
“My first memory of MS DHONI which i can recall very fondly is…that Innings against Sri Lanka at Jaipur…I remember after returning from school…”
“I saw the scorecard of the Sri Lanka batting..it read as 298 runs after 50 overs…those days it was a massive total.. Everyone had the hopes that Sachin & Sehwag duo can change the things for India..As Indian Innings got underway..Sachin was dismissed in the very first over..”
“By Vaas after scoring 2 runs…it couldn’t have a been worse start than this…then walks MS DHONI in at number 3..We have seen what he can do against Pak at Vizag..but can he deliver under immense pressure in a massive run Chase…he started his Innings in blazing fashion..”
“Hitting Vaas over extra cover for 2 massive sixes…i was Literally amazed how easily he’s hitting those out of the park..then it was all MS show from there on…Smashed Farvez Maharoof for four just straight over the Umpires head…that was brute power..I tell you..”
“He was hitting sixes with ease…bashed Upul Chandana all over the ground…hitting 10 sixes in an Innings those days were massive massive achievement..when he hit that winning six against Dilshan…whole India knew…this man is special.. he’s not afraid of the runs.”
“No pressure during run-chase..calm cool & composed…and he’s having the brute power..on his day he can murder any bowling line-up..from that day..I always wanted to see MS bat..as the time passed..his legacy continued to grow..and now as he has bid aideu to this game..”
“Only one thing I can say is…there can’t be another MS DHONI..the void will be always there…”He was once a generation player”
“my first fond memory of msd was during the Pakistan series when Pervez Musharraf who was Pak president appreciated him and told him to keep the hairstyle. For Raina its not a particular match but his fielding stood out very early”
“It was about a month later [of Dhoni’s 183], when we visited India, and my grandparents had saved some newspaper cuttings from that ODI series. I went through all of the newspapers, and this Dhoni innings stood out (India won that series 6-1 so it was hard for one thing in particular to stand-out).
“I remember adding up the number of runs he made from boundaries and realising he made as many runs from sixes as from fours (unheard of at the time). But I only thought of him as a wicketkeeper batsman and would never have imagined the impact he would eventually have with his captaincy.”
“Coming on to Raina…his first memory which i can recall is his match Winning Innings against England at Faridabad in 2006… India were chasing 230 odd runs and We were at 92/5..then MS & Raina joined in the Middle…MS played the supporting role to Raina in that game…”
“Very fluently Raina took the attack to the English bowlers…on his day Raina was a pure match winner in the shorter formats..and that was his day..that day he announced to the World Cricket that a guy from UP is going to be a hero in the future…he made 81* in that game…”
“And took India to a victory in that tough run Chase…till 2008..his place in the side was not fixed..after that Asia Cup in 2008..where he tonked then second fastest hundred by an Indian against Hong Kong..he was a permanent member in the side…”
“That was my #FirstMemory of those two legends..hope you enjoyed reading this…Thanks mate…”
@ImRaina “I remember the day when you scored your first century (2008), I was 7 years old ……when u got out I write your name in my hand and keep telling everyone that Raina hits a hundred #firstmemory. Thanks for the millions of memories u gave us to celebrate.” #rainaretires
That is all from this week! Share your own #FirstMemory or #BrokenDreams in the comments below! And as always, share with your friends, subscribe, and follow us on Twitter!
Few batsmen score over 10000 runs with an average above 50 in ODI cricket. Fewer still contribute 444 dismissals as wicket-keeper. Hardly anyone can be credited with captaining teams to World Cup victories in T20s and ODIs, No.1 Test ranking, and multiple IPL championships. 
MS Dhoni did all three.
After Martin Guptill’s run-out of Dhoni that effectively ended India’s World Cup dreams in 2019, Dhoni’s retirement was on everyone’s mind. Will he? Won’t he?
A year on down in times of COVID-19, MS Dhoni delivered the news in classic MS Dhoni style—in a subdued Instagram post. Shortly thereafter, his partner in crime, Suresh Raina, joined in retirement on Twitter.
Thala and Chinna Thala, or leader and juinor leader, as they are known in Chennai, MS Dhoni and SK Raina were synonymous with the Indian 2011 world cup winning team and numerous CSK victories. We look back at the illustrious careers of this dynamic duo, Dhoni and Raina—the stalwarts of Indian cricket team over the past decade and a half.
Raina and Dhoni both hailed from small towns in Ghaziabad and Ranchi respectively. Their rapid rise to international cricket is an inspirational story with hardwork and overcoming obstacles. In Dhoni’s case, the story captured by the late-Sushant Singh Rajput in M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story.
Both Dhoni and Raina were multi-dimensional cricketers. While the Indian team revolved around Dhoni’s finishing ability, wicket-keeping skills, and captain cool nature, it was Raina’s fielding and off-spin that provided the team balance. Here are brief snippets of their statistics:
ODI: 5615 runs, 35.51 average, best of 116*, strike rate 93.5, 36 wickets
T20I: 1605 runs, 29.18 average, best of 101, strike rate of 134.67, 13 wickets
Test: 768 runs, 26.48 average, best of 120, 13 wickets
Although the numbers do not convey everything, Dhoni’s 50+ average and 84 not-outs reveals why he was considered the best finisher of the generation. As long as Mahi is there at the end, India was still in the game.
While Dhoni was India’s finisher, Suresh Raina was India’s insurance policy. If the top-order needed support, Raina was there. Jitters in the middle order? Raina was there. Need to score quick runs and accelerate? Raina was there. His consistently high strike rates reflect how good he was at reading situations and executing accordingly.
The legendary trio of Yuvi-Mahi-Raina rescued India on numerous occasions from dire situations.
My First Memory
My first memory of MS Dhoni in international cricket that caught my eye…did not actually involve watching Dhoni at all. I was on a road trip when an India-Sri Lanka ODI match was taking place.
We were listening to the commentary on a patchy radio station and checking the scores via paid text messages with spotty networks (yep, those days). The new kid on the block was promoted to No.3. Next thing you knew, he started to hit it out of the park.
He scored some runs, and then some more. The network disappeared and came back again. More sixes, more fours. Network out, back again. Eventually, with boundaries galore, India successfully chased 299 (which in 2005 was a huge score). Dhoni 183 not out.
Similarly, my first Suresh Raina memory did not actually involve his batting. Or his bowling. Or his catching. It was the one and only time I have ever seen a wicket by obstructing the field to Inzamam Ul-Haq.
That incident caught my eye. Like Mohammad Kaif, another captain from Uttar Pradesh before him, Suresh Raina was a marvelous fielder at backward point.
MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina were pillars of India’s ascent to the top between 2007 and 2013. An era that started with MSD captaining a bunch of unknown youngsters to the 2007 World T20 finals (although Raina was not in that team) and extending till the 2016 T20 world cup.
Victories at the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 ODI World Cup at home, 2013 Champions Trophy along with semi-finalists at the 2015 ODI and 2016 T20 world cups. Not a bad record, I would say.
Even though Suresh Raina made his name in ODI cricket, he had an impact in each format. With a century on Test debut in Sri Lanka and a century in the 2010 World T20, he was the first Indian to score centuries in all three formats.
There are several records and victories associated with these two, but what highlights of Dhoni and Raina will I remember the most? I will remember:
MSD’s glovework was second to none. Whether it is lightning-fast stumpings, between the legs-run out, the DRS calls, or that last ball run-out in the T20 World Cup, he redefined wicket-keeping.
The trademark helicopter shots, that 91* in the World-Cup final, finishing off with a six for a fun. And finally, out of nowhere, in a middle of the test series in 2014, the retirement in Australia.
And Raina? For me, personally, I will remember his hoicks over mid-wicket and his absurd 87 off 25 in IPL 2014 Qualifiers. The best IPL innings of all time in my opinion. Regardless,
The beauty of a great Suresh Raina innings is you remember the impact, not the score.
More often then not, Raina was unbeaten at the end. Raina’s 34*(28) and 36*(39) in the quarter-finals and semi-finals chases were just as important as Gambhir’s 97 or Dhoni’s 91 in the final.
But every good thing has to come to an end, right? Dhoni’s distinguished career had to end anti-climatically with a run-out. Raina, marred by injury issues, retired at the age of 33, only playing 3 ODIs after the age of 29, when batsmen are usually at the prime.
Their legacy though would be determined by their partnership. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina remind me of the movie, Ratatouille. Okay, let me explain.
Both of them, were great cricketers in their own right. Together, though, they were like cheese and strawberry.
Combined together, something really special was created.
As dependable finishers in the middle-order, one of the best runners-in-between the wickets, wicket-keeper and off-spin bowling partners, or as captain and #3 batsman at CSK as Thala and Chinna Thala, it was their partnerships together that made this journey memorable.
It is only fitting that they retire from international cricket together. Let us sit back nicely and watch them in the IPL while we can for a few more days.
To conclude, here is are some nice videos by the ICC and Cricket Australia on Dhoni and Raina: