Chennai Super Kings, on Saturday, suffered a big blow when their star man Suresh Raina announced he would not play in the upcoming season of the IPL. The 33-year-old, who recently announced his international retirement, travelled with the team to Dubai on August 21.
Prior to that, he has also taken part in the five-day pre-departure camp in Chennai along with captain MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, M Vijay and bowling consultant Laxmipathy Balaji. But the former India batsman eventually decided against playing in IPL 2020, citing personal reasons.
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.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) August 29, 2020
Reason behind the withdrawal:
As soon as Chennai Super Kings announced the decision of Suresh Raina’s withdrawal, speculation started as to what made the batsman take the big decision. There were reports suggesting that the batsman pulled out after his uncle was killed during a robbery.
However, this theory appears a bit fat-fetched since his paternal uncle passed away on August 19 while the batsman had left for Dubai on August 21. Well, Ajay Sethi, chairman of the Channel 2 Group which holds broadcast rights of major cricketing events in UAE and also a family friend of the Rainas, has confirmed the reason behind the withdrawal.
Speaking to Gulf News, he confirmed that the Uttar Pradesh star pulled out of the competition due to COVID-19 fears. He stated that he talked to the Super Kings star on phone and the latter stated that he left UAE as he was getting concerned about his family.
“Suresh (Raina) called me back after repeated messages from me during the day. He apologised to the fans of the UAE and said he decided to leave the CSK camp suddenly as he was getting concerned about his wife Priyanka and their two young children, four-year-old daughter Gracia and four-month old son Rio in view of the pandemic situation back home.
“Raina told me that he started missing the family badly, especially the children, from the time he landed in Dubai. Since the CSK team management decided against players travelling with their families in the initial stages of the IPL, they could not accompany him either and even Rio’s passport was not ready,” said Sethi.
Missing Suresh Raina will be a big blow for the three-time IPL champions. He is the team’s all-time leading run-getter, aggregating 4527 runs from 164 IPL games for the franchise. The No.3 batsman featured in 158 consecutive games for Super Kings before missing his first game in the 2018 season with a calf injury.
Watch: Shane Watson’s Heartfelt Message For ‘Heart Of The Team’ Suresh Raina After Latter Pulls Out of IPL