It is common for any captain to have a favourite player and when it came to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, it was Suresh Raina, who enjoyed magnanimous backing, Yuvraj Singh revealed.
One of India’s greatest limited-overs cricketers, Yuvraj remembered how Dhoni faced selection dilemma when he had to choose two players from Yusuf Pathan, Raina and him, in the playing XI during the 2011 World Cup.
"Suresh Rainahad larger support then because MS used to back him. Every captain has a favourite player and I think Mahi really backed Raina at that time," Yuvraj had said on a talk show.
"Yusuf Pathan was also performing well at that time and even I was doing well and was also picking wickets. And Raina was not in good touch then. They did not have a left-arm spinner at that time and I was picking wickets so they did not have any choice."
Suresh Raina finally responded to Yuvraj's comments. The left-handed batsman claimed that Dhoni always backed him as he knew the talent.
"I would say MS definitely supported me, he supported me because he knew I have talent, I’ve done it for him, CSK and Team India, whenever he supported me."
"The best part about him is that he will tell you after two games, ‘If you don’t score, I’ve to take a big step.’ I said just give me one or two games, I will make sure not to repeat mistakes," Raina was quoted.
During Dhoni's captaincy, Raina was one of the regulars in the Indian squad, however, his international appearances dried up since Virat Kohli took over.
Raina's last played in the blue jersey in an ODI against England in July 2018. It was the only ODI series he was involved in that year and one of five international series he was part of in 2018.
His last Test appearance came in the 2014/15 series in Australia which was also the one in which Dhoni retired from the longest format.