Chennai Super Kings off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has pulled out of the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League which will be played in the United Arab Emirates.

“I have pulled out of IPL due to personal reasons,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying by PTI.

“I have informed the CSK management about my decision to pull out of this year’s IPL. I have decided to take a break due to personal reasons in these difficult times. I expect that everyone would respect my need for privacy.”

Harbhajan also put put a tweet announcing his decision. “Dear friends, I will not be playing IPL this year due to personal reasons,” he wrote.

“These are difficult times and I would expect some privacy as I spend time with my family. @ChennaiIPL CSK management has been extremely supportive and I wish them a great IPL.”

Harbhajan is one of the most successful bowlers in the history of IPL with 150 wickets and is only behind Lasith Malinga (170) and Amit Mishra (157) in the all-time list.

At this point, he said it was important for him to devote time to his young family.

“I would only say that there are times when family takes precedence over sport. My young family is my focus of attention now. But yes my heart will be in the UAE with my team. I am sure that Chennai Super Kings will put up yet another fabulous performance,” Harbhajan told PTI.

CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan put out a statement saying the franchise supports Harbhajan in his decision.

“Harbhajan Singh informed us he won’t be available due to personal reasons. Team Chennai Super Kings is supportive of his decision and stands by him and his family during these testing times,” said Viswanathan

Harbhajan joins Suresh Raina, who pulled-out of the tournament citing the same reasons.

While Raina traveled with the team to the UAE before returning home, Harbhajan has been in India all this while.

The 40-year-old off-spinner, who has been a part of CSK for the past two years, is currently in Jalandhar with his family and requested privacy. The IPL starts on September 19 in the UAE after being moved out of India due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Three-time champions CSK have faced a number of setbacks in the buildup to IPL 2020, with 13 members of their unit, including two players, testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

CSK had arrived in the UAE along with defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore on August 21. Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men are scheduled to have their first training session on Friday.