Suresh Raina, the former India batsman, was arrested by Mumbai Police in the early hours of Tuesday for violating the social-distancing norms set by the Indian government amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Raina was one of 34 people arrested, but later released on bail. He was in Mumbai on personal work and the arrests were carried out at the Dragonfly Experience, a club near the Mumbai airport.
According to Manjunath Singe, deputy commissioner of Mumbai Police, “legal action” had been taken against Raina and the others arrested at the club. “It is a violation of government instructions because the government has asked them [people] not to party beyond certain time, so they have violated that rule,” Singe told ESPNcricinfo. “They were taken into custody and left immediately on bail.” The incident occurred hours after the Maharashtra government announced a night-time curfew, which will come into effect in Mumbai from Tuesday night.*
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, Raina’s management team said the player had been unaware of the rules and restrictions, and “regrets” the “unintentional incident”. “Suresh was in Mumbai for a shoot which extended to late hours and was invited by a friend for a quick dinner post the same prior to him taking his flight back to Delhi. He was not aware of the local timings and protocols,” the statement read. “Once pointed out, he immediately complied with the procedures laid out by the authorities and regrets the unfortunate and unintentional incident. He always holds rules and laws laid down by governing bodies with the highest regard and will continue to do so in the future as well.”
This is the second time in five months that Raina has been in the news for non-cricketing reasons. Raina, who retired from international cricket on August 15 this year, had abruptly left the IPL’s bio-secure bubble in the UAE later that month and returned to India citing personal reasons. While the real reasons for Raina’s return from the IPL remain undisclosed, it is understood that at the time he told the Chennai Super Kings team management that he had apprehensions about staying in a bio-secure bubble – several of the Super Kings contingent had tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of IPL 2020.
Raina has been named in his state team Uttar Pradesh’s probables for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (India’s domestic T20s), which will be played between January 10 and 31 at various venues across India. Uttar Pradesh are in Elite Group A, which will play the league phase of the tournament in Bengaluru.
*12.45pm GMT, December 22: The article had initially indicated that the night-time curfew was already in effect in Mumbai. This was changed.
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