Suresh Raina on MS Dhoni, CSK bond: Thala and Chinna Thala are like Jai and Veeru from Sholay

Suresh Raina on MS Dhoni, CSK bond: Thala and Chinna Thala are like Jai and Veeru from Sholay

Chennai Super Kings vice-captain and star batsman Suresh Raina said he is blessed to have received love and support from fans in Chennai during the Indian Premier League (IPL). Raina said the monickers given to him and MS Dhoni by CSK fans is something he will cherish for the rest of his life.

Suresh Raina is fondly called as 'Chinna Thala' by CSK fans while MS Dhoni is revered as 'Thala' in the IPL. CSK have sure 'Thala' and 'Chinna Thala' have a part of the emotional connection fans have with the 3-time champions.

Raina said the nicknames 'Thala' and 'Chinna Thala' feels like Jai and Veeru, iconic roles played by Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra in the 1975 Bollywood blockbuster, Sholay.

"It's pure love and pure blessing. It's something you cherish for the rest of your life. 'Thala' and 'Chinna Thala', it's something like Jai and Veeru from Sholay," Suresh Raina told popular sports commentator Harsha Bhogle for Cricbuzz.

"When we go down South, we have a lot of responsibility but they enjoy our cricket. It's only because of the fans. They treat us really well, they give us a lot of freedom to express ourselves."

Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni are gearing up for IPL 2020, starting September 19 with a training camp in Chennai. Notably, Raina followed Dhoni into retirement as the CSK duo took the cricket fraternity by surprise by announcing their retirements on India's Independence Day.

Stressing that MS Dhoni is a tough character, Raina said the World Cup-winning captain learnt a lot from India's disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign in the West Indies.

"He reads the game really well. We have seen over the years how he led the team over the years and got tougher with each and every tour.

"I would say he really learnt a lot from the 2007 World Cup loss. You can win a lot of matches, when you lose, you can learn a lot. That shows how serious a captain he is, tough person he is. That 2007 World Cup really changed him as a person."