Suresh Raina plays a shot during the 2019 IPL match at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. File / AFP
Mohammad Abdullah, Staff Reporter
In a major setback for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Suresh Raina has pulled out of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), citing personal reasons.
Former Indian all-rounder, who took retirement from international cricket recently, has been a mainstay of CSK batting line-up for a long time.
Raina will not be available to play for CSK for the rest of the IPL-13 season. Chennai Super Kings CEO KS Viswanathan confirmed the same in a statement via their official Twitter account.
“Suresh Raina has returned to India for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of the IPL season. Chennai Super Kings offers complete support to Suresh and his family during this time,” read the statement.
However, the reason was not revealed by CSK or Raina either.
Meanwhile the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI) also issued a statement, confirming 13 new cases of COVID-19.
“13 personnel have tested positive of which two are players. 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,” said BCCI in the statement.
The statement further read: “the BCCI has put in place stringent health and safety protocols for the Dream11 Indian Premier League 2020 Season, which is scheduled to start from Sept. 19th in the UAE.
“Accordingly, upon landing in the UAE, all the participants have followed a mandatory testing and quarantine programme.
A Total of 1,988 RT-PCR COVID tests were carried out between Aug.20–28 across all participant groups in the UAE.
“These groups include Players, Support Staff, Team Management, BCCI Staff, IPL Operational team, Hotel and ground transport Staff.
“As per the IPL 2020 Health and Safety Protocols testing on all participants will be conducted regularly throughout the IPL 2020 Season,” added the BCCI in their statement.
However, the BCCI refrained from revealing the names of the team or the players or other personnel, who have contracted the virus.
Raina’s pull out is being linked to COVID-19 cases. As On Friday, several media reported all the players and the staff members, who contracted the virus belong to CSK.
The whole team has again been sent into the isolation and is likely to come back on the ground for training after 14 days, that will be around Sept.10-11, just a few days ahead of the scheduled kick-off on Sept.19.
With barely a few weeks remaining for the cricket spectacle, BCCI has not announced the fixtures as of now, that also is raising eyebrows.
Mubashir Usmani, General Secretary Emirates Cricket Board, declined on comment on the issues.
“This is a BCCI event and we have rented the grounds to them. It is only them, who can take a call or comment on anything pertaining to the IPL,” said Usmani.
“BCCI has already issued a statement and our stand is same as that of theirs. We are not supposed to comment on this. They are here in the UAE so they are in the best position to speak on the issue,” he added.
A delayed IPL has been shifted to the UAE in the wake of the rising cases of the coronavirus in India, where it was originally slated to be held in March.
However, a strict safety protocol has to be followed by the teams. All the teams’ members flying to the UAE had to provide a negative COVID-19 test reports, not taken 96 hours before their arrival.
After reaching Dubai, players and other supporting staff had been kept in a mandatory quarantine period of seven days in their hotel rooms. Only after serving the mandatory isolation period, players were allowed to start practicing for the big event.
Strict protocols have been laid down by the UAE authorities for the safety of the players and others. Ever since the coronavirus broke out, sporting sector was worst hit as all the action came to a grinding halt due to the pandemic.
But the UAE, in its all glory, heralded the return of the sporting action by hosting UFC fights at the Yas Island successfully.
Due to its reputation as a safe heaven, India also chose the UAE for hosting the cash-rich IPL. It is the second time that the IPL is being held in the UAE.
Earlier the tournament was shifted to the UAE in 2014 in the wake of general elections in India due to security reasons.
The IPL, the world's richest cricket tournament, was half finished when it was halted on May 4 after a number of players and team officials caught coronavirus despite being in bio-secure bubbles.
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