Chennai Super Kings' batsman Suresh Raina has withdrawn from the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League. The official Twitter profile of CSK confirmed the development.
"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," CSK wrote.
Raina has been one of the key members of the CSK franchise over the years. The left-handed batsman is the second-highest run-scorer in the history of the Indian Premier League.
Earlier on Friday, CSK were dealt with another blow when the members of the franchise tested positive for COVID-19.
"A total of 12 members have been found infected and the entire team has been told to go under quarantine. It is learnt that they got infected during a camp in Chennai," said the sources. "Other teams have also requested the BCCI to issue a statement for the safety of the cricketers in the UAE." CSK had landed in Dubai on August 21 and underwent the mandatory six-day quarantine period.
While it couldn't be officially confirmed but speculation was rife that a family tragedy coupled by spike in COVID-19 cases in the team might have disturbed the former India left-hander who retired on August 15 alongside his skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Raina had announced his international retirement on August 15 alongside CSK captain and long-time international teammate Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The duo was expected to return to action together in the upcoming edition of the tournament.
The all-rounder represented India in 18 Tests, 226 ODIs and 78 T20Is.
The 33-year-old has so far played 193 games for CSK in which he has accumulated more than 5,000 runs at a strike rate of above 137. Besides, he has also picked 25 wickets.
While it is understood that the tournament is not under threat as of now but one franchise becoming a "COVID-19 hotspot" is slowly becoming an issue for other teams as well as the BCCI.
"If there are 13 cases from only one franchise then it is an issue for sure for everyone. The biggest aspect will be whether foreign cricketers will now start being panicky as they are more touchy about these issues," an official said.
"We need to keep a tab on players' mental health," he added.
(With inputs from PTI)