On Saturday, cricketer Suresh Raina shocked many after withdrawing from the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) citing "personal reasons". The Chennai Super Kings all-rounder had already been in Dubai for several days at the time.
"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," read a brief message from the team's official handle.
Since then, there has been massive speculation as to the reasons behind Raina's abrupt withdrawal. Coming as it did just before reports that one of Raina's uncles had passed away and four members of his family had been injured, allegedly in an attack by robbers in Punjab's Pathankot district, many have speculated on a family tragedy of some sort. Others still cite the recent spike in COVID-19 cases amid the team and the support staff of CSK.
But on Sunday, an Outlook India report suggested that there might be more to the story. The article says that Raina was unhappy with the hotel room that he had been allotted (his room did not have proper balconies) and wanted accommodation similar to what team captain MS Dhoni had been provided. Reportedly, he had also found the bio-bubble claustrophobic.
The article quotes CSK owner and former BCCI president N. Srinivasan who for his part does not seem to be much perturbed, stating that Dhoni was "in complete control" on the situation thus far. Opining that Raina might wish to come back, Srinivasan also noted that this presented an opportunity for Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Incidentally, Gaikwad is one of the two cricketers from the team who have tested positive for the virus.
While there has been no official confirmation from any of the parties as to why exactly Raina has dropped out, it must also be mentioned that he has shared an amicable relationship with Dhoni.
The two recently announced their retirement from international cricket, with Raina stating that he was choosing to follow the former team India captain on this 'journey".
With two cricketers testing positive for COVID-19 and one dropping out, many have wondered how the Chennai Super Kings will rearrange themselves, going forward. Alongside, many of their foreign players have been delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
(With inputs from agencies)