Chennai Super Kings batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, remains in isolation and is unlikely to be available for the team’s IPL opener against defending champions Mumbai Indians on September 19 in Abu Dhabi. Gaikwad was the second player in the CSK contingent to test positive for Covid-19 last month.

CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan said India A batsman is doing ‘absolutely fine’ but has not yet got the BCCI’s clearance to join the team’s bio-bubble. “Ruturaj has still not been cleared by the BCCI medical team and is in isolation. He is unlikely to be available for the first match. We are expecting him back in the (bubble) in the next couple of days and he is doing absolutely fine,” Viswanathan told PTI.

Thirteen members of the CSK contingent tested positive for the virus last month and two of them were players – Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar. Chahar, along with 11 others, has recovered and resumed training after clearing his mandatory two tests.

Gaikwad too underwent two tests on Sunday and Monday, the results of which are not known. After clearing the COVID test after the 14-day quarantine, a player is also needed to undergo a cardiovascular and lung function test to ensure he is fit to train.

Chahar, who was the other Super Kings player to test positive for Covid-19 last month, underwent a similar process. However, the India pacer recovered in time to be ready for the opening match.

Gaikwad is seen as Raina’s replacement in the team after the latter pulled out of the tournament and flew back home due to personal reasons. Senior spinner Harbhajan Singh has also withdrawn due to personal reasons.

Viswanathan said the team has not decided on their replacements yet.

After a below-par Vijay Hazare Trophy, Gaikwad bounced back in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament in some style. His tally of 419 runs in 11 innings at a strike rate of 146.30 was only second to Devdutt Padikkal’s 580 runs in 12 innings.