Former India skipper MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina share a great bond on and off the field. Even the fans are aware of the bond and CSK fans especially refer to the duo as ‘Thala’ and ‘Chinna Thala’. Raina played a key role in India’s 2011 World Cup victory under the leadership of Dhoni. Not only that, both the players announced their retirement on the same date last year — August 20.
But there was a time when the duo had to play for different teams — Raina for Gujarat Lions and Dhoni for Rising Pune Supergiant. In a recent interaction, Raina recalled a time when he faced different emotions facing RPS, especially Dhoni.
Raina told Gaurav Kapur, on the latest episode of 22 Yarns Podcast uploaded on Spotify, “Yes, there were mixed emotions. I remember we were playing in Rajkot and, Ashwin was bowling’ McCullum was at the non-striker end; I was batting; Dhoni bhai was keeping; Faf du Plessis was standing at first slip. It felt like we were playing the Kanga League of my neighborhood! (chuckles),” Raina said.
Raina also recalled the welcome Dhoni gave him. “When I went in to bat, Dhoni bhai said, ‘Aao aao captain sahab, aao’, (Welcome captain) and I said ‘Aare hai are hai bhai, zara peeche ho thoda!’ (I am coming brother, move aside first!). This was all very fun,” Raina said.
Raina narrated another incident from a T20I in Ireland when Dhoni was not part of the team and the latter brought out drinks for the left-hander. “We had gone to Ireland in 2018, and enjoyed ourselves thereafter the matches. Dhoni bhai carried drinks for me there,” Raina recalled.
“I remember one moment. Dhoni bhai thought that I often ask a lot for gloves and bats while batting, so he brought the whole kit bag to the ground and said: ‘Take whatever you want, don’t call me again’. I think I was batting alongside Rahul and we both had hit fifties. He (Dhoni) said ‘I won’t come again, it’s very cold out here’. (chuckles),” Raina further said.
“I still said, ‘Do one thing, bring a grip as well’. And he replied: ‘Bohot bade waala hai tu, tu rukja, paani pi, mai leke aata hu’. So it was that kind of fun. I thought to myself that I’ll take full revenge that day,” he further revealed.