Former India player and Chennai Super Kings star Suresh Raina has pulled out of the Indian Premier League that starts September 19 in the UAE.
On Saturday morning, a statement on the CSK official Twitter handle said Raina had returned to India because of personal reasons and the franchise offered “complete support to Suresh and his family during this time”.
Later in the day, the BCCI, in a press release, said 13 personnel in the UAE, including two players, had tested positive for Covid-19. While the Indian board didn’t identify those who have been infected, it is learnt that all are from the CSK tour party. Incidentally, CSK is the only team that conducted a five-day camp in Chennai before flying to the UAE.
Those in the know say that though Raina’s test was clear, the rising number of Covid cases around him and the subsequent extension of the quarantine period for CSK resulted in the left-hander taking this step.
Raina’s exit came as a surprise to even his team mates as the player had just kept his franchise and captain MS Dhoni in the loop.
Before leaving for UAE, an unusual cricket tour that would keep him away from home for close to three months, Raina had spoken about missing his family, especially his son who was born during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“I spent most of my time with my family. My kid’s online classes have started so I was busy with that. The real challenge will start for me when I am away from home, during the IPL. As I was with them for the last five months, I enjoyed every moment,” he had said.
From the time the players landed in the UAE, they have undergone multiple tests and have been asked to confine themselves to their rooms, not even allowed to meet their teammates.
While most teams have started training, the period of isolation for the CSK is likely to get longer given the increase in positive cases. It is learnt that the CSK players, during an online meeting, were informed that their expected training day has now been pushed back to the first week of September.
Meanwhile, the BCCI, in its statement, said that they had conducted 1,988 RT-PCR Covid tests between August 20 and 28.
“All the affected personnel as well as their close contacts are asymptomatic and have been isolated from other team members. They are being monitored by the IPL Medical Team. As per the IPL 2020 Health and Safety Protocols, testing on all participants will be conducted regularly throughout the IPL 2020 Season,” it said.
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