On Saturday afternoon, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed through a press release that as many as 13 personnel tested positive for COVID-19.
Out of that list, two are players and recently, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) cricketer Suresh Raina withdrew from the tournament citing "personal reasons".
A top source from the board told Sportskeeda that Suresh Raina decided to give IPL 2020 a miss because of the ‘phobia’ it created in the mind of the cricketer.
Sources also insisted that there are other players as well in the CSK squad who are petrified and panic-stricken. However, the BCCI made it clear that IPL is on from September 19 and that stringent health and safety protocols are in place to conduct the tournament.
None of the CSK franchisee officials were available for comment, and it was only through the social media accounts that the news of Suresh Raina withdrawing from IPL 2020 was made public.
It is also understood that even Raina’s family wasn’t aware of his sudden homecoming as the recently-retired cricketer didn’t want to risk playing IPL 2020 and then termed it as “personal reasons”, which the CSK management promptly agreed to.
Questions raised around Suresh Raina's sudden withdrawal from IPL 2020
Raina's departure from IPL 2020 comes as a big blow to CSK, which is a side that was counting on him to give them an edge during the event.
“Since Raina has been an indispensable member of the CSK team, and why would he skip the whole tournament when you can recover if at all you are COVID-19 positive?," another source questioned.
Unfortunately, in the run-up to the tournament opener, it was discovered that a bowler and some staff members of the franchise tested positive for COVID-19 and due to this finding, the team's quarantine period will be revised.
Suresh Raina is CSK’s highest run-getter, and has aggregated 4527 runs from 164 IPL games for the franchise. He is also the second-highest scorer in IPL history with 5368 runs, second only to Virat Kohli's 5412 runs.
Incidentally, Suresh Raina also announced his retirement from international cricket around the same time former India captain MS Dhoni did.
Despite the southpaw withdrawing from IPL 2020, Dhoni is likely to be seen leading CSK in the opening game of the competition against defending champions Mumbai Indians.