Former India batsman Suresh Raina, who had announced his retirement from international cricket earlier in 2020, has confirmed that he will be making a return to competitive cricket in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020-21 with Uttar Pradesh. The left-handed batsman had missed the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 due to personal reasons but he confirmed to Dainik Jagran that he will be taking part in the domestic T20 tournament as he wants to win another title with the state of UP. He further added that his focus would then shift to the 2021 edition of the IPL, which will be held in the early parts of next year.
Interestingly, Raina didn’t mention which side he would be playing for. The batsman has been a core part of the Chennai Super Kings since the inception of the league - save for a two-year period when he turned out for the now-defunct Gujarat Lions.
However, with a mega auction looming next year as well as the potential addition of at least one if not two new franchises to the tournament, it remains to be seen where one of the tournament’s most consistent performers turns up.
Raina, who was the part of 2011 World Cup winning side, has scored 5,615 runs in 226 ODIs and 1,605 runs in 78 T20Is. He has also played 19 Tests in which he has made 768 runs.
Interestingly, Raina had celebrated completing 15 years in international cricket just days before announcing his retirement. “Thank you so much guys, really overwhelmed with your love & support. These 15 years have been the greatest moments, and you guys as my family members keep me motivated. Love & Peace," he had said on Twitter.
The other notable aspect of Raina’s retirement was that the announcement came on the same day that former India skipper and CSK captain MS Dhoni confirmed his own retirement.
Raina took to Instagram to congratulate Dhoni and said that he too will no longer be available for international selection.
“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," he said along with a picture of him, Dhoni and other Chennai Super Kings players.
A day later he confirmed the news again with a statement thanking everyone who helped him in his career.
“With a lot of mixed feelings I’m able to make this announcement of my retirement. From a very young age, I as a small boy had literally lived Cricket on every street, gali and nukkad of my small town before making it to the Indian team," he said.