After Suresh Raina went back home, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been dealt another major blow after star off-spinner Harbhajan Singh decided to miss the entirety of IPL 2020 due to 'personal reasons'. A formal announcement from the CSK owners is expected soon.
It is learnt that the former India player conveyed his decision to the CSK management on Thursday. As per the IPL protocols, a player cannot resume duties once he submits a letter to the authorities expressing his desire to skip the tournament and flies back home. The situation will be particularly tricky this year because of the ongoing pandemic.
As far as the balance of the CSK squad is concerned, Harbhajan’s absence won’t leave a big void as they have three quality spinners in their ranks. While South African Imran Tahir won the ‘Purple Cap’ in IPL 2019, the Indian leg-spin duo of Piyush Chawla and Karn Sharma can also exploit the slow, turning wickets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
CSK on the back foot even before IPL 2020 started
The news of Harbhajan pulling out is the latest in a series of mishaps in the CSK dugout. Earlier, 13 members, including players Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad, tested Covid-19 positive. 14 days of self-isolation was immediately mandated for them. At the same time, other members of the CSK squad also could not resume training.
They will, however, be back on the field today after all the others returned negative Covid-19 reports thrice. The afflicted ones can join CSK’s bio-secure bubble only by the end of next week after the completion of their quarantine period and testing negative twice.
Everyone in the bubble, including families of players and support staff, will undergo Covid-19 testing every fifth day during the tournament. IPL 2020 will be played behind closed doors at three venues – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah – starting from September 19, with the final slated to be held on November 10.Published 04 Sep 2020, 13:57 IST