Suresh Raina is an integral part of the Indian cricket team and the Chennai Super Kings franchise of the IPL. In a freewheeling chat with Chennai Central, he speaks about all things Chennai and what makes him tick
It's a Friday afternoon. Phoenix Market City isn't all that crowded. A small group gathers around the Adidas showroom, their interest piqued by the photographers milling around. The mood is tense and heavy, bordering on excitement, with people scurrying around waiting for the person of interest to arrive.
Soon, a bevy of policemen accompany the man of the hour, Suresh Raina. What a clamour there is — excited kids waving miniature bats for his autograph, giggling girls vying for his attention, press photographers looking for that perfect shot, stern security personnel controlling some of the over-enthusiastic fans. One boy even succeeds in getting him to sign the back of his white T-shirt. A couple of elderly ladies stand on the couches to take better photos of Raina. A group of people stand with their noses pressed against the glass doors of the showroom, envious of those allowed inside.
Patiently, we wait for the promised interaction, standing on tiptoe to catch a glimpse of the Chennai Super Kings star. After an obliging Raina poses for photos, he is whisked away to meet the journalists (not surprisingly, all the reporters present are women). Much jostling and impatient exchanges with the security guys later, it's finally our turn.
The trappings of fame don't seem to have affected this boy from Ghaziabad, as he greets us with a warm smile and a cheery hello. After exchanging pleasantries, we quickly proceed to the questions.
Chennai Central (CC): Your favourite Chennai matches?
Raina (R): It’s tough to pick one but the nail biting match against RCB was the clear winner in this season, The game was very crucial.
CC: Your take on the IPL and what makes CSK click?
R: This game is very funny, you need to be much focused, very competent and most importantly, you need to enjoy each and every game. CSK clicks because it has the most professional coaching staff and every youngster wants to improve his game.
CC: Your other interests?
Apart from cricket, I also enjoy drives along ECR (when in Chennai), and I love cooking with my mother whenever I have the time, especially vegetarian fare. I enjoy watching movies and shopping with friends.
CC: Are you brand conscious?
I am not brand conscious. I wear what suits me.
CC: And your thoughts on Dhoni?
He is an honest captain, gives positive feedback and a nice person altogether.
Overwhelmed, a little sweaty and tired, we finally emerge victorious from the crazy crowd.