Ambati Rayudu's replacement missing: What CSK need to do at IPL 2024 auction | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Ambati Rayudu's replacement missing: What CSK need to do at IPL 2024 auction to create history

Dec 11, 2023 05:36 PM IST

Identifying Ambati Rayudu's replacement and bolstering their fast-bowling unit by adding quality backups will be CSK's two areas to address at IPL 2024 auction

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will enter IPL 2024 auction with one of the biggest purses of 31.4 crore. In fact, CSK are one of the only four franchises that have a budget of 30 crore or more heading up to the big day. Being a well-oiled unit, CSK don't have too many voids to fill. 11 of the 19 guys they retained, are near automatic picks in the Playing XI. With six slots to fill – three of which are overseas buys – Chennai can splurge big to enhance their back-ups, which believe you me, could in turn give some stiff competition to Mumbai Indians in terms of star power and being the strongest franchise on paper.

MS Dhoni will have a couple of areas to look into at the IPL 2024 auction(Agencies)
MS Dhoni will have a couple of areas to look into at the IPL 2024 auction(Agencies)

The one name that immediately comes to mind, whose replacement CSK seek is Ben Stokes. But to be honest, they might actually give it a pass. CSK did well without Stokes, who was nursing a knee injury. In his absence, CSK used Moeen Ali to his full potential. So while that aspect is taken care of, CSK will, however, need someone to fill Ambati Rayudu's shoes. Rayudu, who has been with the franchise since the last six seasons, dating back to its resurgence in 2018, is a CSK veteran with over 1932 runs, and with him gone, they need a strong middle-order option to assist Ajinkya Rahane and the top order.

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Who are Rayudu's replacement choices?

The biggest advantage CSK will enjoy at this auction is the benefit of having to spend a lot of money on very few buys. Rayudu's exit could give CSK their only possible headache – whether to opt for an Indian batter or overseas. The dealbreaker here is that at No.4, they need someone who can bat steadily. Why? Because in Rahane and Shivam Dube, CSK already have players who play the whacking game. Hence, someone like Karun Nair could be a steal. Nair's IPL history has been such that he hasn't been able to retain his place in squads for long, but with MS Dhoni at helm, this could change. Nair could find his true calling at CSK, but rest assured, it won't be a straightforward pick as coach Stephen Fleming would be tempted to pick between two fellow New Zealanders in Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra.

Neither would come at a small price tag. If anything, Ravindra and Mitchell could trigger a bidding war given their exploits at the recently-concluded World Cup where they scored over 550 runs each. Both Kiwis play the brand of cricket CSK would want from their No. 4 batter, a perfect recipe for success. As a matter of fact, Ravindra could be the potential successor to Moeen Ali, who at 36, may not have too many seasons ahead of him. Manish Pandey and Shahrukh Khan are also names that may appeal to CSK, but with too many attacking batters already in their kitty, their chances may not appear too bright.

The fast-bowling conundrum

Why would CSK need more pacers despite the presence of Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande and Matheesha Pathirana? Simple, because of their tendency to break down. Chahar has had an injury filled year, getting repeatedly sidelined. Furthermore, with CSK losing Mukesh Choudhary last season, they would really want to bolster that area. Remember, Australia's World Cup-winning pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood have made themselves available for the auction, and even though other teams will be in the fray as well, any one of these three picks could signal a jackpot for CSK and go a long way in their quest to winning the title for a record sixth time.

Harshal Patel emerges as another potential candidate of interest for CSK. Having been let go by Royal Challengers Bangalore after a three-year stint, which notably featured a record-equalling 32-wicket season in 2021, Harshal's proficiency in delivering slower balls could prove to be valuable on the relatively slowish surface of Chennai.

Players that could be in CSK's radar

Indian picks: Karun Nair, Harshal Patel, Shahrukh Khan

Overseas picks: Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Starc

Players retained by CSK

MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajay Mandal, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Mitchell Santner, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana.

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