Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) preparation for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) took a massive jolt after a couple of their senior players – Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh – pulled out from the tournament.
Statistically, Raina stands head and shoulders above the rest of the CSK batters. He has played 193 games and amassed 5368 runs at a strike rate of 137.11. To fill shoes as big and irreplaceable as Raina’s wouldn’t be an easy task for any other players.
Shane Watson, former Australia cricketer and CSK mainstay, too feels that it would be a tough job to replace Raina but he remains optimistic considering the squad depth of the franchise.
“We have to (deal with the absence of Raina, Harbhajan). The great thing with CSK, as with all IPL squads, they have a lot of depth. It’s going to be incredibly hard to replace Suresh Raina. You can’t,” said Watson on a YouTube show hosted by Nabeel Hashmi.
“He scored the second-most runs in the IPL, played the most games in IPL history. He has got records left, right and centre.”
‘He is a seriously good batsman’
Watson believes Murali Vijay is someone who can make a difference with his explosive batting in the UAE.
The 39-year-old said that Vijay is a “gun player” and he has what it takes to not let CSK feel the absence of Raina.
Vijay didn’t get much opportunity last year as he featured in just three games for CSK. He would leave no stones unturned to make his presence felt in the upcoming edition.
“No doubt he [Raina] is a big loss but we have got someone like Murali Vijay, who is a gun player. In T20 cricket, he has not got a lot of opportunities in the last few years, But he is a seriously good batsman. He was sitting on the sidelines last year, he might get more opportunities this year,” said Watson.