Former Australia cricketer Dean Jones believes that the absence of Suresh Raina will be a major concern for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is set to be played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Raina, who has played 193 games for CSK — accumulating more than 5,000 runs — last month opted out of IPL 2020 due to “personal reasons”. He had travelled with the team to the UAE, but has since returned to India in a controversial manner.

“Raina’s absence is a major concern this time and he is in the top five run getters in IPL,” said Jones while speaking on Star Sports show ‘Game Plan’.

“He is a left hander and plays spin very well and the weakness for CSK could be that majority of their players are right-handed batsman.

“They need some left handers or they could get stuck, particularly if they are playing to leg-spinners and the ball is going away,” he added.

Citing “personal reasons”, Raina decided to skip the IPL 2020. Another CSK cricketer, Harbhajan Singh also followed the footsteps of Raina and informed that he will not take part in the cash-rich tournament this year.

Even though Raina had returned to India after traveling to the UAE with the squad, Harbhajan had not yet joined the CSK camp in UAE and remained in India when the team had flown out. The 40-year-old had also skipped CSK’s pre-season camp in Chennai last month.

Meanwhile, Jones is of the opinion that a lot will now depend on skipper MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming in order to “gel the team” together in the absence of Raina and Harbhajan Singh.

The 2020 season of the IPL will be played for 53 days from September 19 to November 10 across three venues in the UAE — Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai. CSK will take on Mumbai Indians in the season opener.

The final match will be played on a Tuesday, to make it the first-ever IPL to have its final on a weekday. The matches this season will also start 30 minutes before their original time of 4 PM and 8 PM.