New Delhi: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) all-rounder Suresh Raina has pulled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) citing "personal reasons", the franchise said on Saturday even as it emerged that a second player in the team has tested positive for COVID-19.
The player in question is a right-handed top-order batsman, who has been a part of India 'A' teams in recent past and is a prolific performer in Ranji Trophy. On Friday, a T20 specialist pacer had tested positive along with 12 members of the contingent in Dubai.
While it is expected that Raina will be issuing a statement later in the day, sources close to the franchise said that one of the biggest draws in IPL desperately needs some downtime to be with his young family at the moment.
The 33-year-old had retired from international cricket earlier this month.
"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 tweeted Chief Executive Officer Kasi Viswanathan's statement.
CSK's quarantine period in Dubai has already been extended till September 1.
"Suresh's absence will be a big blow for the CSK and also, he is one of the biggest draws in IPL. But in these times, if any player doesn't feel 100 per cent and has some other pressing priorities, any team respects that and CSK is no different," a senior IPL official privy to development in CSK camp told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
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.
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 Board of Control for Cricket in India.
"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.