Former India cricketer, Suresh Raina takes a trip down memory lane and recalls the brief conversation he had with Tendulkar which made the left-hander realize the burden, the weight of expectations, the pressure, on Tendulkar every time he stepped on the field. Any cricketer in India is already under immense pressure, and Tendulkar had to put up with more during the long wait between his 99th and 100th international hundred.
Raina remembers this incident when Tendulkar notched up his historic, unprecedented, 100th international century in 2012 against Bangladesh in an Asia Cup game in Dhaka. The southpaw had already shared the dressing room with Tendulkar during several memorable and major triumphs in Indian cricket – including the 2011 World Cup.
However, a witty remark from Tendulkar was enough to astonish Raina. After Tendulkar tucked a delivery from Shakib Al Hasan to square leg, jogged his hundredth run, and completed his typically subdued celebration, Raina hugged him and saw the relief on Tendulkar’s face to have finally cleared the landmark.
Tendulkar funnily pointed out that his hair has gone grey while waiting for this 100th ton. Raina was left speechless.
“I had many memorable moments with paaji once I started playing for India. The biggest one obviously is winning the 2011 World Cup, but apart from that, winning the CB series in Australia [in 2008], the ODI and Test series in New Zealand [in 2008-09], and becoming the No. 1 Test team. I was at the other end when paaji scored his 100th international hundred,” Suresh Raina told ESPNCricinfo.
“After he took a single off Shakib [Al Hasan] to reach the milestone, I congratulated him saying, ‘Well done, paaji, it was due for so many months.’ He said, ‘My hair has turned grey waiting for this moment.’ That’s when I realized how much mental weight he was carrying all that while,” Raina recalled.
Suresh Raina set to return to cricket through Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021
The 34-year-old is set to return to professional cricket in the forthcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, which is India’s premier T20 domestic tournament. The Ghaziabad-born batsman will play for the Uttar Pradesh side, which will be led by youngster Priyam Garg, who led the Indian team to the final of the 2020 Under-19 World Cup.
Raina last played a high-level match in the IPL 2019 final against Mumbai Indians – he skipped the IPL 2020 citing personal reasons.