The bromance between Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni is no secret. The partnerships two have forged while wearing the Blues or Yellows is now part of cricketing folklore. Such was the impact of the Raina-Dhoni alliance that Chennai Super Kings fans fondly called Raina ‘Chinna Thala’ after Dhoni became their ‘Thala’.
On a new episode of ‘My Time with Dhoni’, available exclusively on JioCinema, Raina recalled the moment he first witnessed Dhoni and his penchant for big-hitting. In 2004, Raina represented Central Zone, and first-hand got a taste of Dhoni’s prowess, who was playing for the East Zone.
“We were hearing a lot about a player with long hair from Jharkhand known for hitting it out of the park consistently,” recalled Raina.
“This one day, we all were hanging around while Dhoni bhai quietly was eating his roti and butter chicken in a corner. Gyanu bhai saw him and said, ‘I really don’t think he’s going to do us any damage. He’s enjoying his food; let him do that’,” Raina remembered.
When the action began, Dhoni came out to bat, and Central Zone skipper Mohammed Kaif put an attacking field with slips and a gully. “From the word go, he hit gagan chumbhi (touching the sky) sixes, and Gyanu bhai had to eat his words,” said Raina, who then witnessed MSD’s hard-hitting and finishing skills from close quarters while playing for India and CSK. (IPL 2023: RCB’s Glenn Maxwell Drops A Bombshell, Says He Is Still Not Fully Fit)
But the most memorable gagan chumbhi six that Raina recalled Dhoni hitting was in 2010 at Dharamshala in a match against Kings XI Punjab. “He clubbed a big one over long-on, and then punched his helmet. I have never seen him do this in any match or any situation. Everyone knew him as Captain Cool, but the energy he showed was because of the match situation,” Raina remembered. Dhoni led CSK in a tricky, high-scoring chase in that match that took them to the semifinals, eventually the ultimate prize too.
Giving a peek into his off-field passion, Raina reveals Dhoni’s passion for two-wheelers has been extended to four-wheelers too. (IPL 2023: Another Blow To KKR, Key Pacer Ruled Out Due To Injury After Captain Shreyas Iyer)
“We all know how many bikes he has and how he personally fine-tunes them, but he has extended this passion for vintage cars. He has become a collector,” Raina revealed. Mr. IPL also divulged his skipper’s love for gaming.
“Whenever we would ask him to go for dinner, he would inevitably play a game and delay our meals by 10-15 mins because he was intensely involved in the game,” Raina said.
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