Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has chosen to skip playing in the upcoming thirteenth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) citing "personal reasons". The 40-year-old informed his decision to the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team management on Friday and has now become the second cricketer from the franchise to not take part in the entirety of the tournament's 2020 edition after left-handed batsman and team vice-captain Suresh Raina returned to India citing personal reasons. Although Raina had travelled with the team to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where IPL 2020 is scheduled to be held for 53 days, Harbhajan stayed back in India. 

Harbhajan had also missed CSK's short training camp held in Chennai last month between August 15 to 20. The off-spinner pulling out of IPL 2020 will come as a big blow for the three-time IPL champions considering the spinner-friendly conditions of UAE. Having played for the Mumbai Indians for ten years, Harbhajan joined the CSK squad in 2018, where he helped his side win their third IPL title. During his outing last year, he picked up 16 wickets under captain MS Dhoni, with the team eventually losing out to Mumbai Indians in the finals. 

With Harbhajan Singh now out of IPL 2020, CSK will have to rely on names like Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Karn Sharma and Sai Kishore in their ranks, who are the remainder of the team's formidable spin attack. 

Chennai Super Kings squad members not under quarantine, with the exception of two players, had undergone yet another COVID-19 test on Thursday, with their results coming out as negative. The team will be hitting the field on Friday to finally begin their training after it got extended owing to the coronavirus situation within the squad. 

The two CSK players, Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad, who tested positive last week, are at present put up in a separate hotel and are scheduled to undergo two fresh COVID-19 tests upon the completion of their two-week quarantine. They will be allowed to train alongside the other squad members only after their test results are declared as negative. 

The cash-rich IPL 2020 will have 60 matches played in the UAE from September 19 to November 10 in three venues - Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, with the tournament schedule expected to be released later today, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said in a statement on Thursday.