CSK have had a grand return to India’s T20 carnival. Bravo and Billings scripted two of the most famous IPL wins for CSK in its famed history, but both wins came at a cost for the Chennai franchise.
Kedar Jadhav suffered a hamstring injury in the first game and was subsequently ruled out of the tournament, and it was Suresh Raina’s turn in the second as he suffered from a calf issue.
The news broke just after CSK were forced to shift all of their home games away from Chennai, slapping Chennai in the face when they were already down.
Raina will miss 10 days of the IPL and here we look at the possible replacements for him in the CSK line-up
1) Faf du Plessis
Faf is a Chennai veteran, having played for them all through except in the last two seasons when Chennai were banned.
He has scored 1295 runs in the IPL with a healthy average of 30.12.
With Watson and Rayudu opening the batting, Faf could very well fit into that number 3 slot for CSK, playing the anchor’s role initially and teeing off during the death overs.
The South African though is recovering from a thumb injury and we’ll have to wait and see if he is fit enough to take the field on Sunday.
Imran Tahir could then make way for Karn Sharma, owing to the overseas player limit.
2) David Willey
Willey was recently drafted into the CSK setup as a replacement for Mitchell Santner/Kedar Jadhav.
He can be used in various roles for CSK.
Willey will add some strength to that fast bowling unit, swinging the ball big time at the start will also provide CKS them with a brilliant batting option at the top of the order and in the dying overs.
The English all-rounder opens the batting for the Perth Scorchers in the BBL and could do the same for CSK, with maybe Ambati Rayudu slotting into that number 3 role.
Again, Imran Tahir could make way for Karn Sharma in order to stay within the overseas player limit.
3) Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay was expected to take the field from the first CSK game, as he was the only experienced Indian opener in the side, but the CSK think tank decided to go in with Rayudu, who is predominantly a middle-order batsman.
Now, with Raina unavailable for the next two games and Imran Tahir performing decently well, CSK could rope Vijay into the XI, as they might want to stick with their current 4 overseas stars.
Vijay hasn’t played T20 for a while but has been a revelation for CSK in the past seasons, and could switch back into T20 mode if needed.
Rayudu will then slot into that number 3 role.
CSK play their next game against KXIP in Mohali and will want to put their injury concerns and the fact that they have lost their home venue for the season behind them.
MS Dhoni would want CSK to click as a unit this time, as they have relied more on individual performances in the first two games to get them through.