The Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) campaign for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has started on the worst possible note in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
First, as many as 13 members in the CSK contingent, including Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaekwad were diagnosed as positive for coronavirus. Subsequently, CSK’s matador Suresh Raina decided to pull out of the tournament and went back home citing personal reasons.
The latest blow to CSK came in the form of Harbhajan Singh’s exit from IPL 2020. Bhajji took to Twitter, making the announcement formal.
“Dear Friends, I will not be playing IPL this year due to personal reasons. These are difficult times and I would expect some privacy as I spend time with my family. @ChennaiIPL. CSK management has been extremely supportive and I wish them a great IPL Stay safe and Jai Hind,” Bhajji tweeted.
I will not be playing IPL this year due to personal reasons.These are difficult times and I would expect some privacy as I spend time with my family. @ChennaiIPL CSK management has been extremely supportive and I wish them a great IPL
Stay safe and Jai Hind
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) September 4, 2020
Now, CSK is pondering over the replacement of their experienced campaigners. The N Srinivasan-owned franchise hasn’t made any announcement regarding the replacements for Raina and Bhajji yet.
Today’s let’s go through the four possible replacement for Harbhajan at CSK in IPL 2020:
1.) Manoj Tiwari
The tale of Manoj Tiwari‘s career has been an unfortunate one. Despite performances at the international level and even in IPL, Tiwari has remained out of favour when it comes to selection.
Tiwary was instrumental in Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) win in the 2012 and 2014 IPL seasons. He was then bought by the Rising Pune Supergiant where he featured for a couple of seasons.
The Bengal legend was part of Supergiant successful campaign in the 2017 edition of IPL, where they reached the final but fell short of clinching the title by just one run.
In the last few auctions, Tiwary could not attract any bidders and was left unsold. He has been quite vocal about the repeated axe received in his career, of-late.
The absence of Bhajji might see Tiwary reunited with his former RPS skipper in MS Dhoni. Tiwary might find himself useful as a finisher and even as a decent part-time bowling option.
2.) Yusuf Pathan
Yusuf Pathan is undoubtedly a legend of the IPL. He started his IPL career donning the blues of Rajasthan Royals (RR) and was part of their triumph in the inaugural season, back in 2008.
Pathan also won a few titles with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and then made a move to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Moreover, the Sunrisers decided to release Pathan ahead of the previous IPL auctions, held last year. He was later left unsold in the auction. Many claimed that his IPL career was over.
With Bhajji’s slot vacant in the team, Dhoni might opt for the experience of Pathan with both bat and the ball.
Pathan, on his day, is good enough to decimate any bowling attack and also chip in with vital breakthroughs.
3.) Hayden Walsh Jr
One of the most promising youngsters to come out from the Caribbean is off-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr.
He has been amongst the wickets in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020. Walsh Jr proved to be the only shining light in the disappointing campaign of defending champions Barbados Tridents (BT).
His three-wicket haul against the St Lucia Zouks (SLZ) last month changed the match on its head. The USA-born has even made a mark with his economical spells throughout the tournament.
During West Indies‘ last visit to India, young Walsh impressed one and all with his skills. The wickets offered in the UAE should suit the off-spinner and trouble several batsmen.
4.) Jalaj Saxena
Saxena has been a prolific campaigner in first-class cricket for both Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. He was previously part of the rosters for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Delhi Capitals (DC).
Popular cricket pundit, Deep Dasgupta, reckoned that Jalaj is the perfect replacement for Bhajji.
“I think Jalaj Saxena deserves a place, he’s a good enough all-rounder. I think they might look at him, he’s a very good option for Bhajji’s replacement,” Deep Dasgupta told ESPNCricinfo.
“He’s someone who has got a lot of experience not just in red-ball cricket but also in white-ball cricket he’s been around for a while,” he added.
To add weight to his case, Saxena is already in the UAE as a net bowler.