CSK's Harbhajan Singh to miss entire IPL 2020 for personal reasons

Harbhajan Singh will miss the entire IPL 2020 season for personal reasons. He conveyed his decision to the Chennai Super Kings management on Thursday.

Harbhajan Singh has pulled out of IPL 2020.

Chennai Super Kings suffered another blow on Friday when senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh pulled out of IPL 2020 for personal reasons.

This follows the Covid positive tests of Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad and the pulling out of the influential Suresh Raina from the IPL.   

The vastly experienced 40-year old Harbhajan has 417 Test wickets, 269 ODI scalps and 235 victims in the Twenty20 format. Despite the passage of time he has kept himself fit.  He had a productive last season with CSK in the IPL with 16 wickets from 11 matches at a creditable economy rate of 7.09. The off-spinner has been with the Chennai team for the past two years.

Harbhajan said in his Twitter account, “Dear friends, I will not be playing in IPL this year due to personal reasons. These are difficult times and I would expect some privacy as I spend time with my family. @Chennai IPL CSK management has been extremely supportive and I wish them a great IPL. Stay safe and Jai Hind.”

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Talking to Sportstar from Dubai, CSK CEO K.S. Viswanathan said, “Yes, he has pulled out. He informed us on Friday. He said his mother was old and he had personal reasons for not taking part. The CSK is fully supportive of his decision. We are with him and his family during these difficult times.”

Harbhajan was expected to join the squad on September 1 - the rest of the team reached Dubai on August 21. He was given permission by the CSK management to join the team late.

However, Harbhajan did not land in Dubai on September 1 and as the days went by, doubts about his participation grew. On Thursday, Viswanathan said he was yet to hear from Harbhajan on his arrival plans. Now, the off-spinner has withdrawn from the competition.   

Viswanathan said he would discuss with captain M.S. Dhoni about seeking a replacement for Harbhajan.

CSK does not have another off-spinner in the squad and Viswanathan said, “Kedar Jadhav [essentially a batsman] can chip in with a few overs of off-spin.”

On the positive side for the franchise the CSK players, apart from Chahar and Gaikwad who will have to complete their two weeks of quarantine, tested negative in their second and final Covid test and began their practise session from Friday evening under the lights.

CSK faces a tough period but this is a team whose combative instincts are stoked by adversity.

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