New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter of appreciation to Suresh Raina who retired from international cricket on August 15, thanking him for making India a leader in sports and 'constantly inspiring young minds.'
In the two-page letter, the PM acknowledged Raina's contribution to Indian cricket and wished him a fruitful second innings in life.
The 33-year-old Raina, a member of the 2011 World Cup winning India team, announced his retirement on August 15, minutes after MS Dhoni brought an end to his 16-year-long international career. Like his Chennai Super Kings captain, Raina will continue to play in the Indian Premier League.
''I do not want to use the word 'retirement' because you are too young and energetic to 'retire','' PM Modi, who also wrote a letter of appreciation to Dhoni, said in a two-page note to Raina.
''During your cricketing career, you sometimes faced setbacks including injuries but every time you overcame those challenges, thanks to your tenacity,'' he said.
Raina, on his part, on Friday took to social media to thank Prime Minister for his warm words of appreciation.
''When we play, we give our blood & sweat for the nation. No better appreciation than being loved by the people of this country and even more by the country's PM. Thank you @narendramodi ji for your words of appreciation & best wishes. I accept them with gratitude. Jai Hind," the cricketer tweeted along with PM Modi's letter.
Applauding Raina for his cricketing laurels, PM Modi in the letter said, "Generations will remember you not only as a fine batsman but also as a very useful bowler who the captain could turn to when the situation demanded. Your fielding was exemplary and inspiring. Some of the best catches in recent international cricket have your distinctive imprint. It would take days to count just the number of runs you have saved by your alertness on the field."
In the letter, Mr Modi also recalled watching Raina's most famous innings of 34 not out in a tricky run-chase against Australia in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final at the Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad.
''India can never forget your inspiring role during the 2011 World Cup especially during the later matches. I saw you live in action at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, during the Quarter Final against Australia. Your anchoring innings had a big role to play in our team's victory.
''I can confidently say that most fans will miss your elegant cover drives, one which I was lucky to witness that day,'' said the PM, who was back then the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
The PM also described all-rounder as the perfect team-man who enjoyed others' successes.''Suresh Raina will always be synonymous with team spirit. You played not for personal glory but for the glory of your team and the glory of India.
Your enthusiasm on the field was infectious and we could all witness that you would be among the first and most animated players to celebrate the fall of opposing team's wicket,'' the PM wrote.
The PM also applauded Raina for his participation in social initiatives like 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' and the cause of women's empowerment.(UNI)