Days after Chennai Super Kings star Suresh Raina returned home from the IPL in UAE, the franchise is bracing for yet another withdrawal with veteran offspinner Harbhajan Singh having still not joined their squad.

According to media reports, Harbhajan may pull out of the event due to personal reasons.

Neither the 40-year-old nor CSK have commented on why there has been a delay with the squad already landed in the middle-east nation last week.

Harbhajan has played 160 IPL matches, taking 150 wickets at 26.45 and an economy of 7.05. He has also scored 829 runs including a half-century.

Meanwhile, CSK players led by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will start practising from Friday except for Deepak Chahar and Rituraj Gaikwad as both are recovering from coronavirus.

The players who have been permitted to train have cleared a third round of testing.

“The training starts from today. All others, apart from the 13, tested negative for the third time. Those who tested positive will only be tested after the isolation period (two weeks) is over,” CSK CEO KS Viswanathan told PTI.

A total of 13 members from CSK contingent have tested positive for COVID-19 and kept in isolation.

They will undergo two rounds of testing next week once their two-week isolation period ends. Those testing negative twice will be permitted to re-enter the bio-secure bubble.

Chahar is sure-starter in CSK playing XI while Gaikwad, who represented India at the U-19 world cup earlier this year, is being looked at as a replacement for Raina.

The development means that the season opening clash between the defending champions Mumbai Indians and last year’s runners-up CSK isn’t in danger as was being speculated.

The IPL is scheduled to start from September 19 with the matches to be held in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

According to several media reports, the BCCI may announce the fixtures today.