Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Friday became the second high-profile Chennai Super Kings cricketer after batsman Suresh Raina to pull out of IPL 2020 in UAE due to personal reasons. While the veteran off-spinner clearly stated that he wanted to stay with his family in this ‘difficult’ time and the CSK team-management have been very supportive towards his decision, there were speculations that the 13 personnel, including two cricketers testing positive for Covid-19, might have had a role in it.
However, a friend of Harbhajan clarified that it was purely personal and the situation in Dubai had no influence in the off-spinner’s decision to opt out of IPL. A source close to Harbhajan said that it would be “absurd” to attribute the decision to 13 Covid-19 cases in CSK camp.
“It wasn’t about the Covid cases in the Chennai camp. But if you have a wife and toddler staying in India for three months, your mind will be diverted and you can’t fully focus on the game. Then it doesn’t matter whether you get two crore or 20 crore. Money is last on your mind,” a friend of the player told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Harbhajan, who is currently in Jalandhar, Punjab, requested privacy after his decision.
“I will not be playing IPL this year due to personal reasons. These are difficult times and I would expect some privacy as I spend time with my family. CSK management has been extremely supportive and I wish them a great IPL Stay safe and Jai Hind,” Harbhajan tweeted.
Harbhajan said that he was indebted to the CSK management for understanding his priorities. “When I told the CSK management about my decision, they were very supportive and I can’t thank them enough for that,” the off-spinner said.
Harbhajan, who is the third-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL with 150 scalps, was roped in by CSK ahead of IPL 2018 for his base price of INR 2 crore. CSK now have three front-line spinners – leg-spinner Imran Tahir, left-armer Mitchell Santner and seasoned leg-break bowler Piyush Chawla, who was bought for a hefty sum.