Suresh Raina has credited MS Dhoni for allowing him to bat freely and for helping him arrive at a ‘compact decision’ whenever he wanted to tweak his batting.

Raina has played majority of his international and IPL career under the captaincy of Dhoni.

“For whatever time we have played, my USP has been that MS Dhoni has given me the license to bat freely and he always knew my capability,” Rain said on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected. “Whatever strengths I have in my game and whenever things were going great for me, if I needed to tweak something, he would also slowly give me a warning and tell me what the results could be if there is a change in the strategy and then he would leave the final call to me.”

Dhoni, Raina said, was non-interfering and would simply let Raina know how changing certain things will impact the outcome. “He would not try to change anything but he would let you know the outcome/ result and how the situation of the team will be. So, he is also covering my batting and he is also telling me where the team can be. This allows me to make a compact decision,” he said.

Raina, who has played 18 Tests, 226 ODIs and 78 T20Is, no longer features in India plans. He, however, is an IPL regular where barring two seasons, he has played for Chennai Super Kings, a franchise Dhoni has led from the inception of the cash-rich league.

Dhoni hasn’t played any competitive cricket for almost a year now and IPL, which has been suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, was to be the stage from where he would launch his India comeback.

Raina said Dhoni’s preparation for IPL during CSK nets was different this time around and he hopes the league gets underway soon enough so that everyone can see how fit and motivated he has been this time around.

“The best thing was, Rayudu, myself, Mahi bhai and Murali were batting in a group and Mahi bhai bats for long hours when he is in Chennai for about 2 4 hours. But this time he was just not getting tired of batting. He was doing his gym in the morning, followed by batting for 3 hours in the evening,” the 33-year-old recalled.

“The first few days he took it lightly and just focused on going to the gym but he was playing the shots beautifully and his fitness level was great and he was not getting tired. We used to have a gym session from 9:00AM or 9:30AM, a pool session in the afternoon and we would leave by 5PM after coming at 9:00AM or 9:30AM.

“His preparations were different this time, I have played with him over the years with the national side and IPL getting ready but it was different this time, so I just hope the matches can start quickly then everyone can see how well prepared he is and see what I saw myself live in the two months of camp that we had. When someone works hard, then the prayers and blessings find their way to them.”