'His energy, enthusiasm he brought, the way he raised the standard of fielding, there was one thing that you always felt, Suresh did all the difficult things for India.'
Former India captain Rahul Dravid paid tribute to Suresh Raina, who announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, saying the left-hander was 'a terrific team man who always gave his best.'
Raina made his India debut in an ODI against Sri Lanka in 2005 under Dravid's captaincy. He was dismissed for a duck in his first game for India, but the left-hander went on to become an important player for India in white ball cricket.
'Suresh Raina was one of those really young exciting talents who is coming through the Indian system, in the middle of 2000s, 2004-2005, playing Under-19 cricket and doing exceptionally well,' Dravid says in the video posted on BCCI's Twitter handle.
'You could see even at that time, Suresh was going to be a very, very important player for India. And, that is really how it has played out in the last decade-and-a-half. The lot of success that India has had in white ball cricket, lot of the great moments, the great memories that India has had over the last decade-and-a-half, Suresh has been a really big part of them,' Dravid pointed out.
Raina, Dravid explained, did all the 'difficult things' for India like batting lower down in the order in limited overs cricket where he was expected to go on the attack right from the start.
The left-hander played 226 ODIs for India, scoring 5,615 runs at an average of 35. He is only one of three Indian players to have hit a century in all three formats: Tests, ODIs and T20s.
'His energy, enthusiasm he brought, the way he raised the standard of fielding, there was one thing that you always felt, Suresh did all the difficult things for India, you know, batting lower done the order,' Dravid said.
Had Raina batted high up the order for India like he does for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, Dravid said he would have enjoyed much more success with the bat.
'Honestly, his numbers could have been a lot better if he had batted higher up in the order, that has been shown out in the success that he has had for CSK in the IPL when he bats at No 3,' Dravid, who batted at No 3 in Tests, said.
'He has an absolutely phenomenal record and he is one of the phenomenal players of the IPL over the last decade or so.'
'But for India, for most part of his career, he batted lower down in the order, fielded at a difficult position, he bowled some very handy overs, and always brought a lot to the team. Someone who I would think of as a terrific team man who always gave his best, brought some great energy to the game and was a very, very skillful batter.'
The only regret for Dravid is that Raina, who hit a century on debut in Tests, could not justify his talent in the longer format, and could only play 18 Tests in his career, scoring 768 runs at an average of 26.
'I guess he couldn't replicate the success of a debut hundred and couldn't build on that in his Test career. But be that as it may, his contribution in one-day cricket to India was fantastic.'