In a major relief to the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), which has been battling a health emergency of sorts in its Dubai camp, all members, barring the 13 who failed the COVID test and are currently in isolation, have tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
It now turns out that the franchise can begin training from September 4, Friday. The entire CSK contingent had gone into extended quarantine after the unlucky 13, which includes two players – pacer Deepak Chahar and batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad – as well as backroom staff and officials, were shifted to isolation bay after contracting the dreaded virus.
Chahar and Gaikwad are believed to be in remission and will be allowed back into the bio bubble once they complete their mandatory 14-day quarantine period and return negative tests twice on recovery.
Team CEO KS Vishwanathan had earlier put out a statement saying that the entire team contingent had tested negative for novel coronavirus.
However, he later issued a retraction, saying, “All others, apart from the 13, have tested negative for COVID-19. They will have to undergo another test on Thursday, September 3. We are likely to start training on Friday, September 4.”
Further, updating on the status of the two infected CSK players, the CEO said, “Deepak and Ruturaj will complete their 14-day quarantine and then join training after two negative tests, as per protocol.”
It is understood that most of the infected members, apart from the two players, are part of the CSK’s social media team or are those not involved in coaching roles.
The unlucky 13 would undergo fresh COVID tests at the end of their 14-day quarantine.
Confirmation of the negative tests comes as a massive fillip to the franchise as it has been sweating on the availability of some of its regulars and overseas stars who are yet to arrive at the team’s base in Dubai. While senior spinner Harbhajan Singh, one of its marquees, is believed to be caught in a conflict on whether to travel to the UAE in the wake of the COVID cases in his franchise, Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood still hasn’t made up his mind on whether to gang up with his CSK mates.
The ‘Turbanator’ was scheduled to arrive at the CSK camp on September 1. The Australia speedster, who is currently in the UK for a limited overs series, has said he would take a call on playing the IPL once the tour ends.
However, two of the team’s top overseas recruits – South Africa Test captain Francois (Faf) du Plessis and fast bowler Lungisani Ngidi – showed up at the camp and are currently in mandatory weeklong quarantine before they are cleared to join training. It is hoped that the other overseas stars will also gang up with the members in time.
Meanwhile, batting mainstay Suresh Raina, who withdrew from this year’s IPL citing ‘personal reasons’, has now opened up on his surprise exit.
Scotching rumours of a rift with the CSK management, Raina said his decision to leave the franchise ahead of the IPL was a ‘personal’ one and there’s no ‘rift’. “It was a personal decision and I had to come back for my family. There was something that needed to be addressed immediately on the home front,” the southpaw, who recently bid adieu to international cricket, told Cricbuzz.
Raina said it was a tough decision as the CSK is ‘family’. “Nobody will just turn their back on ₹12.5 crore and walk away without a solid reason,” the former India captain said.
The buzz around a ‘rift’ was triggered by a comment attributed to CSK boss N Srinivasan. He was alleged to have used the word ‘prima donna’ with reference to the southpaw but later claimed he was ‘misquoted’.
On Srinivasan’s alleged comment, Raina said, “He’s a father figure to me and a father has every right to scold his son.”
Though not entirely out of the COVID shadow yet, a semblance of normality has doubtlessly been restored to the Chennai franchise and their fans will hope that there are no more nasty surprises in store.