Raina the newsmaker

Raina the newsmaker

The hype and hoopla over the Indian Premier League continues, though it is negative news emanating from the UAE which continues to grab headlines.

Since the time the teams landed in Dubai and went into the bio bubble, we have been fed with all kinds of press releases, videos, photos. This kind of content being driven is nice. It is being lapped up by print, TV, and social  media, which has such a huge connect these days.

Indeed, Chennai Super Kings, a team with huge fan following, has been in the news since the time they were about to leave India. First, it was former India skipper and  inspirational MS Dhoni who announced his retirement on Insta.

Within hours, Suresh Raina, the hot-shot southpaw, who has a great emotional connect with Dhoni and the entire CSK franchise and fans, also took retirement from international cricket.

Once in Dubai, the news feeds came, of how the bio bubble worked. Confined to hotel rooms, with no real connect to the outside world other than hotel balcony, pictures of players exercising indoors was also welcome for die-hard IPL fans.

For those unaware, the COVID-19 protocols in UAE are very strict and even between Dubai and Abu Dhabi there are different rules to be followed. Last week, when one thought the teams would be ready to hit net practice, came the scary news of 13 people in the CSK team testing positive.

All hell broke loose, as if the players had tested positive for dope!

Testing post for COVID-19 is no big deal, though what is a bit shocking is when players and support staff were tested in India, they were negative. So, had someone been a silent, asymptomatic carrier and spread the virus. This is something which only CSK can confirm.

As if this was not enough, all hell broke loose when Suresh Raina, had to return to India. It was sensational news, with enough twists and turns. Was it a fight with Dhoni? Was it a fight over a large hotel suite not being given to Raina?

Or, was it Suresh Raina’s close family members being attacked in Pathankot and few losing their lives which left the T20 star batsman distraught?

Going by multiple media reports, it first appeared Raina was shocked by news of close family members losing lives and some left seriously injured. It was shocking, to say the least. Raina has been a family man and loves his wife and kids madly.

Being away from India, he would have been in great turmoil. Maybe, he thought money in IPL, approximately Rs 11 crores for him, was not what he wants in life but time with his immediate family.

There was a twist in the tale when news broke of Raina’s “fight” with officials in the CSK team over some issue. We are made to believe it was over a hotel room size, but if that is the real reason, one does not know.

For his part, Srini Mama (N.Srinivasan) , too, gave an interview, saying Raina is a key player in the CSK mix. It was nice of the supreme commander of CSK to clear the air.

As Raina remains in quarantine in Ghaziabad, he has spoken of how the death of relatives has jolted him. For someone who had been preparing very hard for the IPL, even during the intense summer during lockdown, it is quite bizarre he had to come back in such a hurry.

If the reasons were grief and family being more important than lure of the lucre, Raina needs all sympathy. But if it is factors other than those mentioned in public domain, the intense speculation will continue.

Till the time the first ball is bowled in the IPL,  and nobody knows when, there will be more questions on Raina’s return to India in a hurried manner. Sadly, in an age when the definition of news has changed,  these things will hold great traction with consumers of news.

Should Raina fly back to UAE and join CSK, that will be another twist. Still wonder why IPL is so bIg!

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