COVID scare and bio-bubble made Suresh Raina exit IPL 2020?
Guwahati: The sudden decision of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) star middle-order batsman Suresh Raina to pull out from the IPL 2020 and return to India has really put his fans in shock and the franchise in a spot of bother.
The 33-year-old former India southpaw had been with the CSK squad from Chennai itself, where they went through a five-day training camp before departing to the UAE.
On Saturday morning, just a day after as many as 13 members of the CSK contingent including two Indian players tested COVID positive, it was learned that Raina had opted to pull out from the upcoming season of the cash-rich league and return to India.
Initially, reports claimed that members of Raina’s extended family were attacked, with his uncle being killed, in Pathankot in northern India.
Reports now are claiming that, apprehensions about living in a lonely, bio-secure environment with news of colleagues testing positive for Covid-19, combined with a personal tragedy, is what forced him to take the decision.
According to sources close to the CSK franchise, everything seemed fine within the camp since the team landed in Dubai. However, given the rise in COVID cases within the camp with Deepak Chahar and Rituraj Gaikwad testing positive along with 11 others, Raina became extensively worried about the situation and did not want to stay back in UAE anymore.
"On Friday night, in fact, there was a huge ruckus. He tried calling all his teammates, coach (Stephen Fleming), skipper (MS Dhoni) again and again to share his concerns. MS, in fact, also tried explaining things to him but nothing worked. He was badly psyched up and worried. Eventually, everybody else realised there was no point holding him from traveling back because he was totally gripped by fear," a source close to CSK told a leading news daily.
According to reports, Raina who has a young family including two children are believed to have told the team management -- CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan, captain MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming -- that he had begun to feel unsafe inside the bubble, and was finding it difficult being "cooped up" in the hotel room.
Raina’s decision to pull out from the IPL raises two very important issues that need immediate attention:
BCCI and IPL now need to pay a lot more attention as to how the individuals related to the tournament have been coping mentally in the UAE.
The franchises now have an even bigger role in paying attention to the player’s personal and mental state at all times.
Meanwhile, CEO Viswanathan confirmed that CSK is not planning to look for Raina’s replacement right away.