Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Friday has pulled out his name from the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) in UAE due to personal reasons. He became the second player after Suresh Raina for Chennai Super Kings to do so. However, the veteran has said that he wanted to stay with his family amid this crunch time.
Meanwhile, the CSK team-management supported his decision while it was speculated that the reason behind this decision could be their 13 members’ including two cricketers tested positive for COVID-19. However, a friend of Harbhajan Singh revealed that it was purely personal and the situation in Dubai had no hand behind his decision.
“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 said to PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Harbhajan Singh, on the other hand, has requested privacy after his decision. He further shared that he was indebted to the Chennai Super Kings management for their support.
“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 Singh tweeted.
“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 added.
Harbhajan Singh, who came in the CSK squad for his base price of INR 2 crore, claimed 150 wickets in the history of the league and became the third-highest wicket-taker. However, apart from him, the franchise has Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner and Piyush Chawla for the season. Check out waging options for the upcoming IPL 2020 season here.
On the other hand, former India wicket-keeper batsman Deep Dasgupta has said that CSK should give the chance to all-rounder Jalaj Saxena in the absence of experienced Harbhajan Singh. Saxena has taken 49 wickets in 54 T20 matches which came at an economy rate of 6.92. Even, he has scored 633 runs as well.
“I think Jalaj Saxena deserves a place, he’s a good enough all-rounder. I think they might look at him, he’s a very good option for Bhajji’s replacement,” Deep Dasgupta told ESPNCricinfo. “He’s someone who has got a lot of experience not just in red ball cricket but also in white ball cricket he’s been around for a while.”
While speaking about Chennai Super Kings squad wouldn’t get the service of Harbhajan Singh in the entire tournament, Dasgupta claimed that the team will certainly miss his experience in the league.
“Yes, he wasn‘t a regularity, didn’t play all the games last season but having said that when you’ve got someone as experienced as Harbhajan and we’re talking about all those 50 plus matches being played on only 3 venues,” Dasgupta added.
“In the 2nd half of the tournament, those pitches will get tired, there will ware and tare so it will definitely help the spinners. From the experience part, yes (they will miss him), and of course he was only off-spinner. He didn’t play much after last season but with someone of that experience, you have to back them and that’s what CSK has done. So they will miss him, maybe not too much but a bit for sure,” he concluded.