Did Chennai Super Kings’s veteran batsman Suresh Raina pull out of the Indian Premier League after ‘rift’ with Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni?
While it couldn’t be officially confirmed, speculation was rife that a family tragedy coupled by a spike in COVID-19 cases in the CSK team might have disturbed the former India left-hander who retired from international cricket on August 15 alongside his skipper Dhoni.
Another theory doing the rounds was that Raina was disturbed by the murder of his uncle Ashok Kumar in Pathankot during a robbery.
Four of his relatives, including his aunt, sustained injuries in the attack, police said on Saturday.
However, according to a report in Outlook on Sunday, Raina was unhappy with the hotel room he was given at the CSK team hotel in Dubai because it did not have ‘proper balconies’.
Apparently, he found the stiff protocols of the bio-bubble claustrophobic and wanted a similar room that Dhoni had been provided.
And when Raina’s demands were not met, the issue spun of control and even Dhoni failed to pacify the left-hander.
The situation only worsened after 13 members of the CSK team, including two players, tested positive for coronavirus and were isolated, the Outlook report further states.
Chennai Super Kings owner Narayanswami Srinivasan slammed Raina for his sudden pull out, saying he behaved like a ‘prima donna’.
‘Cricketers are like prima donnas … like the temperamental actors of the olden days. Chennai Super Kings have always been like a family and all seniors players have learnt to co-exist,’ the former BCCI chief was quoted as saying by Outlook.
‘My thinking is that if you are reluctant or not happy, go back. I don’t force anyone to do anything … sometimes success gets into your head.’
Srinivasan said Raina’s departure could provide the young Ruturaj Gaikwad with an opportunity to prove himself.
‘He is an outstanding batsman and will get a chance now. Ruturaj can become the star of the show, who knows?’ Srinivasan said.
He also backed Dhoni to keep things in check in the CSK camp in the UAE ahead of the IPL, starting on September 19.
‘I have got a solid captain. Dhoni is simply unfazed by anything. That is giving everyone in the team a lot of confidence,’ Srinivasan said.
Srinivasan left the door open for Raina to come back and join CSK. ‘The season has not begun yet and Raina will certainly realise what he is missing and certainly all the money (a salary of Rs 11 crores/Rs 110 million per season) he is going to lose,’ the CSK boss said.