Chennai Super Kings players
Chennai Super Kings players leave the ground after their win in the VIVO IPL T20 cricket match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai, on Saturday, March 23, 2019. Image Credit: AP

The Chennai Super Kings heaved a huge sigh of relief after all their players and support staff tested negative for coronavirus on Monday. The team is in the UAE to participate in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League.

Chief Executive Officer Kasi Viswanathan confirmed news to Gulf News and said there will be another round of tests on Thursday. “Once the team clears that test, they will start practice, he added.

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It was nerve-wracking four days for the three-time champions and last year’s finalists when two of their players, and 11 other support staff tested positive for COVID-19 during the six-day quarantine period.

Even before they could recover from the rude shock, their star batsman Suresh Raina dropped a bombshell by deciding against participating in the UAE edition, citing personal reasons.

The sudden and dramatic departure Raina was a bigger blow since he’s the second highest run-getter in the league, behind Royal Challengers Bangalore’s skipper Virat Kohli.

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For the Chennai Super Kings, the slice of misfortune came before the tournament got underway on September 19. They can easily put the trauma of the test behind them now that all the players and staff have tested positive.

Reports say that the team is readying Ruturaj Gaikwad to fill in for Raina. The youngster has an onerous task as CSK have ridden on the strength of Raina’s batting exploits to post some fantastic victories.

The team is now expected to start practice on September 4. The two players who tested positive for COVID-19 can start training only after completing the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Harbajan expected this week

Viswanathan is reported to have said that the Chennai Super Kings will be ready to play the inaugural fixture against the Mumbai Indians. There have been reports that the Royal Challengers Bangalore would play against Mumbai if CSK seeks a delay.

South African players Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi have joined the team in Dubai, while former Indian off-spinner Harbajan Singh is expected to arrive this week, ESPNcricinfo quoted Viswanathan as saying. Harbajan had missed last month's preparatory camp in Chennai citing personal reasons.