Gautam Gambhir, former Indian opener and IPL winning skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders believes that Chennai Super Kings need to find a replacement for the now-retired Shane Watson and an ageing Dwayne Bravo during the upcoming IPL auction for the 2021 season.
In IPL 2020, Shane Watson scored 299 runs from 11 matches averaging 29.9 at a strike rate of 121.05. CSK finished their campaign in seventh place with 12 points from 14 matches and it was the first time they couldn’t reach the playoffs. West Indian Dwayne Bravo played only 6 IPL games scoring 7 runs and picking 6 scalps as he was injured and couldn’t most matches in IPL 2020 held at UAE.
Gautam Gambhir: Need To Have A Replacement For Shane Watson
The Australian all-rounder has since announced his retirement from all forms of the game after the conclusion of IPL 2020. Retained players like Imran Tahir, MS Dhoni, Faf Du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, and Dwayne Bravo are also above 35 years of age.
“They need to have a replacement straightaway for Shane Watson because obviously, that is one area. Plus, they didn’t have Suresh Raina last time around. So, Suresh Raina will be available,” Gautam Gambhir said while speaking on Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected’.
The IPL auction is scheduled for Thursday 18th February in Chennai. Since the IPL will be back in India in familiar conditions, Gautam Gambhir felt skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni may bring in a few more changes.
“……that’s Chepauk where it’s going to start spinning and gripping. That’s how MS plays his cricket over such a long period of time whenever he has captained CSK. So he might look at an off-spinner because Harbhajan has been released, Shane Watson and probably another all-rounder or a backup for someone like Dwayne Bravo, because probably age is catching up on him as well.”
“He’s (Dwayne) not the same what he used to be. So, probably there could be an all-rounder and plus an overseas batter because there are two overseas batters normally who open for CSK. There’s not going to be too many changes to be honest.”
Shane Watson amassed 1490 runs in 140 IPL games averaging 22.57 and took 153 scalps averaging 24.81. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has released six players, including one overseas cricketer, ahead of IPL 2021 players’ auction.
Shane Watson’s retirement has also opened up a spot in the CSK team. Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja are some of the others from the core of the team who have been retained. Robin Uthappa was inconsistent after which he was traded by the Rajasthan Royals to CSK ahead of IPL 2021.
Gautam Gambhir: Return Of Suresh Raina Will Be A Huge Boost For CSK
Gautam Gambhir also said that CSK should have a smaller squad because “this is only an auction for one season”.
“After this season, there’s going to be a bigger auction. So, I don’t think CSK will have an overall revamp.”
Gautam Gambhir said the return of Suresh Raina, who opted out of IPL 2021, will add strength to the CSK squad.
“This time around, Suresh Raina coming back will be a huge boost for CSK because he plays T20 cricket really well and he’s done a lot of good things for CSK”.
At the same time, they will have new players coming in, whether it’s a replacement for Shane Watson or probably an off-spinner or an all-rounder.
“So, when new players come in, obviously they will bring new ideas, they bring new energy as well. I am sure those are the areas CSK will be looking for,” Gautam Gambhir added.
Harbhajan Singh was joined by the likes of Kedar Jadhav, Piyush Chawla, and Murali Vijay who were also let go by the franchise.