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Comments taken out of context: N Srinivasan 

 N Srinivasan on Monday took a step back from his statements on Suresh Raina and said that his words were taken out of context.

“The franchise will always stand by him and he has our complete support during these times of distress,” Srinivasan told Times of India.

“Raina’s ‘contribution to the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise is second to none and it is unfortunate that people are trying to put two and two together to drive a wedge. His contribution to the CSK franchise has been phenomenal through the years.

“It is important to understand what Suresh is going through right now and give him space.”

Earlier during the weekend, Outlook quoted Srinivasan as saying: “Cricketers are like prima donnas … like the temperamental actors of the olden days. Chennai Super Kings have always been like a family and all seniors players have learnt to co-exist.

“My thinking is that if you are reluctant or not happy, go back. I don’t force anyone to do anything … sometimes success gets into your head.

“I spoke to MS (Dhoni) and he has assured me that even if the numbers go up, there was nothing to worry. He spoke to the players through a zoom call and asked them to remain safe. You really don’t know who is a passive carrier. The season has not begun yet and Raina will certainly realise what he is missing and certainly all the money (a salary of 11 crores per season) he is going to lose.”

However, Srinivasan clarified the same on Monday.

“These boys, they’re family,” he said. “They’ve been family for over a decade now. When I said ‘cricketers are like prima donnas’, it wasn’t in a negative sense. A prima donna is the lead singer in an opera. Similarly, cricketers are always at the forefront of an exercise like this.”

“Let me make one thing very clear. We own the franchise but not the players,” he said.

“One of the key reasons for the tremendous success of CSK over the years is that the franchise doesn’t interfere in the cricketing affairs. That is left to the skipper and the coach.

“If Raina now has opted out of this edition for personal reasons, I completely support his decision. Look, I will never speak ill of a cricketer. I respect players. I am a cricket lover myself. India Cements has always been supportive of the cricketers, much before the IPL came into existence.”

Raina had on Saturday left UAE for India due to what the franchise called ‘personal reasons’. CSK’s official Twitter handle had announced Raina’s departure from UAE while saying ‘CSK offers complete support to Suresh and his family during this time’. Reports emerged that Raina felt claustrophobic in the bio-secure bubble, especially with 13 members from the CSK touring party turning positive for COVID-19.

Outlook also reported that Raina had a tiff with the team management over facilities in his hotel room.

Raina has played 164 matches for CSK – four more than MS Dhoni’s 160 – and is their highest ever run-getter.

Rohit Sankar is a freelance cricket journalist stuck in a love-hate live-in relationship with the game. To rile him up, mention the 1999 World Cup semi-final. Rohit has been writing about cricket for well over 10 years now, and has written for a variety of news and sports outlets over this time.

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