Faf du Plessis is coming off one of the most famous South African Test series wins, as they largely toyed with Australia in the last 3 tests, after going 1-0 down in the series.
And while you think du Plessis might opt out because of mental exhaustion, poor guy was hit on the same finger that had ruled him out of the India ODI and T20 series.
Faf had had a very ordinary series(as a player) up until the final test where his hundred in the second innings essentially batted Australia out of the contest.
He was hit on his injured finger early on in the innings and was in visible pain but decided to bat on in order to ensure a Test series win for his country.
The injury could have worsened because of the blow and thus du Plessis might be forced to opt out of the IPL.
Here are 5 proposed replacements that could be brought in for du Plessis.
1) Martin Guptill
How Martin Guptill hasn’t made it to an IPL franchise baffles me. For a player of his stature and calibre, he should be garnering attention of all franchises let alone going unsold in the auctions.
Guptill is available for selection and should be gobbled up by CSK if du Plessis indeed opts out.
du Plessis could have been used in that opener’s role and CSK would be looking for someone who can slot into that opener’s slot, partnering Vijay at the top of the order. And who better than Guptill to do it.
While Guptill hasn’t really set the IPL thus far, his form in the International T20 circuit has been stellar, having scored 2271 runs in 75 matches at an average of 34.41 and with a strike rate of 132.88.
Guptill’s attacking style of play would bring back memories of Hayden for the Chennai faithful and he could provide CSK with that oomph at the top of the order
A yellow jersey on his chest, and Guptill could become the sweetheart of the Chepauk.
2) Hashim Amla
du Plessis’s compatriot, Hashim Amla too could fit right into the CSK dogma. Tactically and technically sound, Amla is one of the most underrated T20 players out there.
Franchises have overlooked him in the past but whenever he has been picked either in the auction or as a replacement, he has delivered big time, also having scored that scintillating hundred for KXIP last time round.
Also, Amla’s IPL record is terrific, having scored 577 runs in 16 games at an average of 44.38 and with a strike rate of 141+.
The only thing that could go against Amla is his recent form, as he hasn’t quite been amongst the runs both in the series against India and against Australia.
3) David Willey
David Willey has been a revelation from England in the shortest form of the game, getting the ball to swing early on, dishing out those important overs during the death and using the long handle to good effect lower down the order.
Suprisingly though, none of the franchises were interested in his services and thus seemed to have missed a trick there, as Willey could offer great balance to any side, especially one that is searching for an overseas bowler to lead its fast bowling line up.
CSK though have Mark Wood and Lungisani Ngidi in their ranks, both of them don’t have enough T20 exposure, with Ngidi not having played for his national T20 side yet and Mark Wood having played just 4.
David Willey has played 20 T20I’s for his country and has taken 23 wickets at an average of 23.96.
Willey could become the first choice fast bowler for CSK if they decide to go in for him and could solve CSK’s fast bowling woes.
4) Joe Root
Joe Root could be a like for like replacement for du Plessis, a batsman who can bat in the top order, is a brilliant fielder and captains his national team.
They have pretty much similar batting styles, playing proper cricketing shots to garner runs and try and play the sheet anchor’s role through the innings.
Root’s inclusion will depend upon how the CSK think tank are viewing the situation, because of they want a like for like replacement Root should be the way to go, however, if they are looking to go for a more explosive batsman or a bowler all together, Guptill or Willey could/should be considered.
While Root has never featured in the IPL, he has played 25 T20I’s for his country, averaging 39.11 and striking them at a strike rate of 129+.
5) Travis Head
Travis Head has broken into the Australian limited overs side and has been very successful in the middle order, however, he also possesses the skill set to be an opening batsman, hence providing CSK will dual benefits.
Head also bowls part time off spin, something that could come in very handy on the slow, sluggish Chennai tracks.
Head has played 10 IPL games for RCB and has scored 205 runs at an average of 29.29 and hitting them with a strike rate of 138+.
The fact that he has become an indispensable part of the Australian unit and that he had a pretty successful BBL campaign this time round could tilt the tables in his favour, but we’ll have to wait and see how CSK manage the entire situation, if at all it arises.