Chennai Super Kings' IPL 2020 woes have deepened with Dwayne Bravo ruled out for the rest of the season. The Super Kings' chief executive officer Kasi Viswanathan confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that Bravo had suffered a Grade 1 tear to his right groin and would be leaving the UAE on Thursday.
"It's sad news, it's sad to be leaving my team CSK," Bravo said in a video message on the Super Kings' Twitter handle later in the day*. "To all our CSK fans, I want you all to keep encouraging the team, keep supporting, all the true die-hard CSK fans."
Bravo suffered the injury during the Super Kings' match against the Delhi Capitals on October 17, and was able to bowl only three of his four overs. With Bravo unable to bowl the 20th over with the Capitals needing 17 to win, the Super Kings turned to Ravindra Jadeja, who conceded 6, 6, 2, 6 to Axar Patel off what turned out to be the last four balls of the match.
Bravo did not feature in the Super Kings' next match, against the Rajasthan Royals on Monday, which they lost by seven wickets - the result left them with six points from ten games, a spot at the bottom of the points table, and almost no hope of progressing to the playoffs.
"This wasn't a season we expected or our fans wanted, but we gave it our best. Sometimes, despite giving our best, the results don't show," Bravo said. "Keep supporting us and I can guarantee you we're going to come back stronger and better like champions.
"One of the most successful franchises, I feel we should be proud to be members and fans of CSK."
According to Viswanathan, Bravo had been provided a rehabilitation programme with an estimated recovery time of two to three weeks.
Bravo missed the start of the season with a knee injury that he sustained during the Caribbean Premier League. He has since featured in six of the Super Kings' ten matches, taking six wickets while returning an economy rate of 8.57, and batting just twice down the order, scoring seven runs.
MS Dhoni, the Super Kings captain, has predominantly utilised Bravo in the middle and end overs through the seasons. This season, Bravo had bowled 13 of his overs in the middle phase (overs 7-15), conceding 8.23 runs per over and picking up one wicket, and six overs at the death (overs 16-20), bagging five wickets and returning an economy rate of 9.12.
During the CPL, where he represented the title winners Trinbago Knight Riders, Bravo became the first bowler in T20 cricket to bag 500 wickets. Bravo, who turned 37 during the IPL, joined the Super Kings in 2011, and in the 2018 auction the franchise used the right-to-match card option to retain him for INR 6.4 crore (USD 1 million then). With 110 wickets, Bravo is the Super Kings' highest wicket-taker and the franchise has no ready replacement in terms of experience.
'Team wants to come back and fight'
The 2020 season has been the worst in the Super Kings' history. The franchise has lost seven of their 10 matches, the most defeats in a season for the three-time IPL winners. After the defeat against the Royals, Dhoni conceded that the season might be over for the Super Kings although they theoretically remain the race for playoff spots.
Viswanathan said it had been a hard pill to swallow, but he remained confident the Super Kings would end the tournament on a better note. "We know that we have the team which can do well better than what we have done now," he said. "We have the potential to do better, but somehow or the other we have not been able to perform to the expectations of not only the fans but also ourselves till now.
"We still have four more games. The team is very keen. The dressing-room atmosphere is very good. That is the most important thing even now - they want to come back and fight. That is because the coaching staff and the captain have really taken up the team's cause very seriously. I am still hopeful that the team will do well."
Bravo injury concern for West Indies
Bravo's injury also raises issues for the West Indies team management because the bowling allrounder was picked last week as part of their squad for the three-match T20I series in New Zealand in November.
As per the proposed schedule the three T20Is will be played on November 27 in Auckland and on November 29 and 30 in Mount Maunganui.
*updated at 2.30pm GMT on October 21, 2020
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo