Three Ways That CSK Can Line-Up And Replace The Unavailable Suresh Raina At IPL 2020

Did the omission of Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and the fact that the IPL was played in the UAE, contribute to the Chennai Super Kings downfall?

How Can CSK Replace Suresh Raina At IPL 2020?

Suresh Raina has stated publicly that he is unavailable for the 2020 IPL season in the UAE, due to personal reasons. This is a huge blow for CSK in the tournament. But, they do have a strong squad and lots of back-up to fill in for Suresh Raina. But, how can CSK replace Suresh Raina directly at the 2020 IPL.

In this article, we have looked at three ways that CSK could line-up and replace Suresh Raina. A strong Auction in December means that their is enough strength, but how will these players fit in? Only four overseas players can be picked by the Chennai Super Kings. Therefore, such decisions will be key to the Chennai Super Kings’ title hopes.

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The Most Likely Option

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 23: Lungi Ngidi of South Africa (left) celebrates with team mate Imran Tahir after taking the wicket of Haris Sohail of Pakistan during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between Pakistan and South Africa at Lords on June 23, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Andy Kearns/Getty Images)

How CSK can replace Suresh Raina – Option 1

Shane Watson, Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (C) and (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwyane Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir.

Given that all other players in the squad are fit and available, MS Dhoni could replace Suresh Raina in a straight swap with Murali Vijay. The Tamil Nadu born opening batsmen would provide a similar stable base to Faf Du Plessis, although may not be able to play at the same strike rate post the powerplay. However, Vijay could consolidate the innings, allowing the middle-order to express themselves.

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This would allow the Chennai Super Kings to play both in-form Imran Tahir and the revitalised Lungi Ngidi. As a result, their bowling attack would be much stronger than last season and have a similar look to 2018.

The Safer Option

HYDERABAD, INDIA – MAY 12: Deepak Chahar of the Chennai Super Kings celebrates taking the wicket of Rohit Sharma of the Mumbai Indians during the Indian Premier League Final match between the the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium on May 12, 2019 in Hyderabad, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

How CSK can replace Suresh Raina – Option 2

Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf Du Plessis, MS Dhoni (C) and (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwyane Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur.

This is the much safer option that MS Dhoni could revert to. Ambati Rayudu opened with Shane Watson during the 2018 IPL with great success. Faf Du Plessis would slot in at number 3 and could provide a fluidity in the batting order. Either Faf or Rayudu could open the batting for CSK, given the opposition and the pitch.

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Lungi Ngidi would not start in this line-up and neither would Josh Hazlewood. CSK would be backing their spinners and Dwyane Bravo to strangle the opposition on slow UAE pitches. A solid batting line-up could get to scores near 160-170 and then the bowlers could finish off the job in an ideal world.

Imran Tahir is also in great form the CPL and bowlers such as Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar are suited to UAE pitches down to the ground. Faf Du Plessis provides a stability and MS Dhoni could go with such an option if he feels the loss of Raina leaves a gaping hole in CSK’s middle-order.

The Riskier Option

CSK could play Sam Curran in order to replace Suresh Raina at IPL 2020 in the UAE.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 5 : Sam Curran of Surrey hits a six during the Middlesex v Surrey Vitality T20 Blast match at Lord’s Cricket Ground on July 5, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

How CSK can replace Suresh Raina – Option 3

Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Sam Curran, MS Dhoni (C) and (WK), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwyane Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, Lungi Ngidi.

This option is by far the riskiest option as neither of Faf Du Plessis or Imran Tahir are involved. These are two stalwarts of CSK and MS Dhoni has placed a huge amount of faith in both of them. Both are consistent usually, throughout the season. Imran Tahir was the highest wicket-taker at the 2019 IPL and Faf Du Plessis scored nearly 400 runs in the tournament.

Sam Curran, who was purchased in the 2020 IPL Auction for 5.5 crores or £590,000 could slot in at number three to provide the explosive batting power, if CSK want to go down such a route. It would take pressure of MS Dhoni, should it pay off and would give the lower-order less work to do when finishing off the innings.

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Piyush Chawla was bought for 6.75 crores at the 2020 IPL Auction. He could start ahead of both Imran Tahir and Karn Sharma. He would allow CSK to play either of Lungi Ngidi or Josh Hazlewood and also strengthen the all-round options that CSK have at their disposal.

Why CSK Should Not Worry And Why They Can Replace Suresh Raina

Watson bats for CSK against DC in the 2019 IPL Qualifier 2
VISAKHAPATNAM, INDIA – MAY 10: Shane Watson of the Chennai Super Kings bats during the Indian Premier League IPL Qualifier Final match between the Delhi Capitals and the Chennai Super Kings at ACA-VDCA Stadium on May 10, 2019 in Visakhapatnam, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

CSK still have amazing depth in their squad and even in Raina’s absence will be a force to reckon with in the UAE. Their squad has almost a perfect balance of excellent batsmen – who are capable of playing against spin, quality fast bowlers, all-rounders and a spin-heavy attack. All of which point to the perfect combination for playing in the UAE.

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The matter is how they will set-up and how they will fare in this IPL. CSK have been criticised previously for picking players past their prime, but they have proven their critics wrong every time. Back MS Dhoni to get the best out of his side again. CSK have options to replace Suresh Raina.

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