Suresh Raina breaks silence after IPL exit and confirms fatal attack on family

Chennai Super Kings batsman left tournament in UAE on Saturday and has now talked on social media about horrific robbery in Punjab

Chennai Super Kings cricketer Suresh Raina plays a shot during the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings at The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on April 20, 2018. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE / AFP) / ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE----- / GETTYOUT
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Suresh Raina has for the first time spoken about the attack in which his uncle and cousin were killed, leading to his departure from the UAE on Saturday.

The India batsman left the Chennai Super Kings team hotel in Dubai on Saturday morning to return home to India.

His franchise cited unexplained “personal reasons” for his departure, with the franchise chief executive KS Viswanathan offering “complete support to Suresh and his family during this time”.

On Sunday, the team’s owner N Srinivasan had appeared less supportive, though.

He suggested in a magazine interview that Raina “will certainly realise what he is missing,” especially “all the money he is going to lose.”

The comments prompted speculation that CSK were set to part ways with Raina, who is their leading run-scorer and has played all but one of their matches since the start of the IPL.

A day later, Srinivasan suggested his comments had been taken out of context, saying “the franchise will stand by him”.

Raina was silent until Tuesday, when he issued two posts on Twitter addressing the reports of an apparent robbery on the home of his relatives in the Panthakot district of Punjab.

“What happened to my family in Punjab was beyond horrible,” Raina wrote.

“My uncle was slaughtered to death, my bua [auntie] and both my cousins had severe injuries.

“Unfortunately my cousin also passed away last night after battling for life for days. My bua is still very, very critical and is on life support.”

According to reports, Raina’s uncle, Ashok Kumar, had died after suffering head injuries in the attack. Kaushal Kumar, his cousin, died in hospital on Monday.

“Till date we don’t know exactly what happened that night and who did this,” Raina wrote.

“I request [Punjab Police] to look into this matter.

“We at least deserve to know who did this heinous act to them. Those criminal should not be spared to commit more crimes.”

While Raina is now back in India, his CSK teammates have been doing their best to repair the damage after a tough start to their preparations in the UAE.

Their two South African stars, Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi, arrived in Dubai on Tuesday morning.

They will now undergo six days of quarantine in their rooms at the team hotel in Downtown Dubai.

Deepak Chahar, the India fast bowler who was one of two players who tested positive for Covid-19, also provided some reason for optimism.

He posted a video to Twitter of him training in his room, and was in cheerful mood.

“I’ve recovered well and hopefully be in action soon,” Chahar said. “One more thing, never miss your leg day no matter where you are and what condition you are.”

Despite there now being less than three weeks till the competition’s scheduled start on September 19, the fixtures are still yet to be announced.

It is believed the delay is not due to the logistical challenges of the border control between the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as has been speculated.

Rather, the organisers are understood to be wary of CSK’s readiness to play matches at the start of the competition, given that 13 positive results for Covid were reported among their contingent.

It is also unclear whether they will seek a replacement for Raina, while Harbhajan Singh, their veteran spin-bowler, is yet to travel to UAE.

However, Viswanathan was reported as saying his team will be ready to play on the opening night, if required.

"The Covid cases in our teams are mostly among the social-media handlers," Viswanathan was quoted as saying in Mumbai Mirror. "We will be ready to play the first game if asked.

“We have been told that the schedule will be out in the first week [of September], so we are expecting the dates to be out in the next few days.”