Ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have arrived in massive trouble. On Friday (August 28), reports of ten CSK members testing positive for COVID-19 came to the front. The list included two Indian players, namely Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad.
Adding to the blow, batsman Suresh Raina has pulled his name out of the tournament and has even returned to India due to personal reasons. The spinal column of CSK was a part of the training camp that took place in Chennai before the players came to Dubai.
MS Dhoni and Co. would be worried as their top-run scorer has left the squad. Now, CSK would be looking for the replacement of Raina. But who could replace the 33-year-old batsman? Well, let’s have a look at four such players who could act as a substitution of Raina.
1.) Evin Lewis
Evin Lewis is currently playing in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots (SKP). Although, his team is at the bottom in the points table, but Lewis has been performing well with his willow.
The left-handed attacking batsman has played five matches so far in the tournament and has amassed 161 runs at a strike-rate of 135.29. Lewis is at the second spot among leading run-scorers in CPL 2020.
Since Lewis is a top-order player, he can act as a replacement of Raina. Being a left-hander he gives that extra edge to his attacking display of cricket just like Raina.
2.) Hanuma Vihari
The talented Hyderabad cricketer Hanuma Vihari made his IPL debut back in 2013 when he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). However, he hasn’t been able to impress in the shortest format. In 24 games, the 26-year-old has only scored 284 runs at an average of 14.2.
In the 2019 season, Vihari was a part of the Delhi Capitals (DC), but he got chances in only two matches. DC used him as a finisher in the last edition, but Vihari is a player who does better in the top order.
Vihari can bowl off-spin in the middle overs, so Chennai might pick him as Raina’s replacement.
3.) Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan, the former Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder, found no bidders in the IPL Auction 2020. Pathan is a power-hitter and possesses the ability to take the game away in a matter of few overs.
In 174 IPL games, the Baroda-based player has scored 3,204 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 142.97 along with 13 half-centuries and a memorable hundred against the Mumbai Indians (MI). Yusuf can even bowl off-breaks in the middle innings. The 37-year-old has 42 wickets to his name in the lucrative league.
Since Yusuf has plenty of experience in the shortest format and consists of the capability to take any bowler to the cleaners, CSK might opt for the veteran cricketer.
4.) Manoj Tiwary
Just like Yusuf, Manoj Tiwary also didn’t get any buyer in the last IPL auction. In fact, even in the IPL 2019, Manoj went empty-handed. He last played in the cash-rich T20 league in 2018 for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
In the domestic circuit, the 34-year-old has shown tremendous form especially in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy where the right-handed batsman slammed his maiden first-class triple century. In 98 IPL games, the Howrah-born has scored 1,695 runs at a strike-rate of 116.98. Manoj has smashed seven half-centuries in the tournament.
The most significant advantage for Manoj is that he has played alongside Dhoni in the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). Apart from RPS, the Bengali cricketer has also played for the Delhi Capitals (DC), and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).