Three-time winners Chennai Super Kings released as many as six players- Sam Billings, David Willey, Dhruv Shorey, Mohit Sharma, Chaitanya Bishnoi and replacement signing Scott Kuggeleijn much to the surprise of fans ahead of 2020 IPL auction held at Kolkata.
The MS Dhoni-led side bolstered their squad further for the thirteenth edition of the cash-rich league by roping in Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, Piyush Chawla and R Sai Kishore at the highly anticipated auction held on December 19th 2019. Having missed out on their title defence by the narrowest margin of one run against arch-rivals Mumbai Indians last year, the Men in Yellow might be determined to equal Mumbai Indians’ record four IPL titles by regaining the glory this time.
With several players well into their thirties, CSK must provide more opportunities to young Indian players so that they might flourish the core of their squad in the upcoming seasons.
On that note, let us look at three talented uncapped Indian players who deserve more opportunities at CSK this season given their exploits at the domestic tournaments:
1. R Sai Kishore
R Sai Kishore was bought by Chennai Super Kings during 2020 IPL auction at his base price of INR 20 lakh. Despite having several proven spinners in the squad, the prospect of the 23-year-old slow-left-arm orthodox bowler making the XI looks bright as the CSK management might prefer the youngster who impressed everyone with his exploits across formats in the domestic circuit. After finishing 2019-20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as the highest wicket-taker with 20 scalps, he has also proved his calibre in the ongoing Ranji Trophy having taken 19 wickets so far.
In the drawn game against Mumbai at MA Chidambaram Stadium last week, he demonstrated his batting skills and composure with a crucial knock (42 off 192 balls) under pressure when Tamil Nadu was in trouble after losing established batsmen like Abhinav Mukund, Baba Aparajith and Dinesh Karthik.
Given his height, variations, tight bowling and wicket-taking abilities, the highest wicket-taker (68 wickets) in the history of Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) might be looking to unleash his usual best in his debut IPL season as well when he turns out for Chennai Super Kings. With Harbhajan Singh (39) and Imran Tahir (40) not getting any younger, it’s time for CSK to field young local lads like Sai Kishore given the talent and familiarity with Chepauk conditions.
2. Narayan Jagadeesan
Another talented local lad who has proved himself across formats is wicket-keeper batsman Narayan Jagadeesan who was bought by Chennai Super Kings at his base price of INR 20 lakh at 2018 IPL auction. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old hasn’t donned the famous yellow jersey despite being a part of the CSK squad for two seasons (2018, 2019) so far. A dependable batsman and a talented wicket-keeper, the Dindigul Dragons player is currently the highest run-getter in the history of Tamil Nadu Premier League with 1240 runs across four seasons.
With Shane Watson (38), Faf du Plessis (35) well into their thirties and Murali Vijay not at his usual best in the IPL, Chennai must try deploying the local lad at the opening slot. Jagadeesan, who is capable of batting at any position might also strengthen the beleaguered CSK middle order if he is roped into the XI instead of either Ambati Rayudu or Kedar Jadhav.
Despite being on the bench for two seasons, MS Dhoni’s men retaining Jagadeesan ahead of IPL 2020 clearly shows they love having local flavour to their squad and let us hope the talented player given his domestic experience and familiarity with the Chepauk conditions gets his much-deserved opportunity this season.
3. Ruturaj Gaikwad
A talented top-order batsman, Ruturaj who was bought by Chennai Super Kings at his base price of INR 20 lakh during 2019 IPL auction, unfortunately, did not play even a game for Chennai throughout season twelve. A consistent performer in the domestic circuit, the 22-year-old has been one of the vital cogs in Maharashtra’s batting line-up scoring heavily at the top of the order.
The Pune-born batsman recently made the headlines for his sensational knock against New Zealand XI during India A’s tour match at Lincoln where he top-scored for the Shubman Gill-led India A side amassing 93 off 103 balls.
Representing India A, Ruturaj contributed well against West Indies A and Sri Lanka A in the unofficial ODI series last year and he continued his good run last week against New Zealand XI as well. With age and talent on his side, all that Ruturaj needs is an opportunity to prove himself at the top-of-the-order especially with Chennai needing players who could stabilise their batting, Ruturaj might get to make his IPL debut this time and if he could grab the opportunity then the talented youngster might even go onto form the franchise’s core in a few years’ time.
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