“I would say he is the next MS Dhoni for the Indian cricket team,” Raina said on The Super Over Podcast. “I have seen him, he is calm, he likes to listen. He likes to give confidence to the players and on top of that, he likes to lead from the front. When a captain leads from the front and, at the same time, he gives respect to the dressing-room atmosphere, you know you have it all.
“He thinks everyone is a captain. I have seen him, I have played under him when we won the Asia Cup in Bangladesh. I have seen how he gives confidence to young players like Shardul [Thakur], Washington Sundar and [Yuzvendra] Chahal.”
Sharma is the most successful captain in the history of IPL, having led Mumbai Indians to a record four titles in eight years. He is only behind Dhoni in terms of win percentage among captains who have lead in more than 100 games, with 60 wins in 104 matches at 58.65. Sharma has also captained India in Virat Kohli’s absence and has led India to title wins at the Nidahas Trophy and the Asia Cup in 2018. Overall, he has captained in ten ODIs and 19 T20Is, winning eight and 15 of those respectively.
“Somehow I feel I can still play but at the same time I want to enjoy my cricket. I haven’t enjoyed my cricket in the last couple of years”
“Around him, players enjoy the intensity, they enjoy his aura. When you enjoy the aura of a player, you like to be positive and I think that is what he is good at,” Raina said. “MS Dhoni was brilliant. He [Rohit] has won more [IPL] trophies than MS, but they both are very similar. Both of them, as captains, like to listen. When your captain is listening, you can solve a lot of problems, you can solve the mental aspects of the players. So in my book, they both are wonderful.”
‘Haven’t enjoyed my cricket in the last couple of years’
On being asked about his ambitions of playing for India again, Raina said that he would like another chance as long as he’s enjoying his game.
“Definitely, I feel I still have it,” he said. “After every operation [injury-related] I feel I’m a different person. You know how it is after a rehab – after every rehab I felt I became tougher, after every rehab I thought I’ll play again. But I don’t want to be so pushy. Somehow I feel I can still play but at the same time I want to enjoy my cricket. I haven’t enjoyed my cricket in the last couple of years.
“So the next three-four years me playing or not is destiny but I just want to go out there and smile on the field and enjoy my batting and fielding. Cricket has become very commercial but at the end of the day, you need to go out there and come back as a happy soul. That’s what I’m searching for in my mind, when I go the ground and come back, I want to be happy. I just want to try one more time and see how it goes.”