CSK seem to have found the correct combination to make it through to the business end of the tournament. Their bench strength has been performed whenever called upon, providing Dhoni a good 15 players to chose his XI from, depending on the conditions and the opponent.
After the auction it seemed like Rayudu might have to warm the benches during this edition of the IPL, but Dhoni wanted him to open the innings and Rayudu repaid his captain’s faith in him by dishing out superlative performances at the top of the order.
However, du Plessis’ inclusion in the last few matches has pushed Rayudu down the order, as Dhoni feels that Rayudu at 4 and Faf at the top provides better balance to the side than Faf at 4 and Rayudu at the top.
This is primarily because Rayudu can play spin really well and take them on right from the word go, while Faf needs a little more time to get in while tackling spinners.
du Plessis feels that Rayudu should become CSK’s permanent number 4, as he can start attacking the bowlers right from the word go, a skill set that not many batsmen possess.
“Rayudu’s flexibility has impressed me. You can put him at any position from No.1 to No. 11. He will score runs. But the ability to come in at 4 and score boundaries from the outset is something which makes him unique. It is a very difficult skill and not everyone can do that. So if you ask me, I would say Rayudu coming at No. 4 slot is the best for the team.” Faf said in press conference.
“If Watson and I can give the team a solid start, Suresh (Raina) at three and Rayudu at four can just come in and play their natural game. It can become dangerous for the opposition,” Du Plessis added while also saying that he will make sure that Rayudu will be able to use his skills at his preferred batting position.
“I am not sure if the opening slot will keep changing or not. We haven’t had those discussions with the coach. But purely with the way Rayudu is batting in the middle, I would make sure that he is at No.4 for his skills,” he concluded.
MS Dhoni had earlier expressed his interest in using Rayudu as CSK’s opener because he felt that was his batting position but later admitted that he could slot into that middle order to provide better balance to the side.