Renowned expert Brad Hogg believes Chennai Super Kings had enough firepower in the bank minus Suresh Raina to make a mark in the IPL and only failed because their senior batsmen let them down. Hogg also gave his opinion on Mumbai and claimed that teams should look to restrict them at the death.
A fortnight prior to the commencement of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, Chennai Super Kings were struck with the news that they would have to pull through the season without their talisman Suresh Raina, but despite having a long window to sign a replacement, the club chose not to do so. The decision came back to haunt the franchise as in what turned out to be an underwhelming campaign, CSK, largely due to misfiring with the bat, finished 7th out of 8 teams to create unwanted history.
Given other franchises have coped with injuries smartly by signing able replacements - DC signing Nortje and SRH signing Holder, for instance - there is a belief that CSK erred on that front by choosing to not replace Raina but former Australian cricketer Brad Hogg has begged to differ. A former IPL commentator, Hogg is of the opinion that CSK had enough firepower in their tank, even without Raina, to win the IPL, but were let down by the senior batsmen, including skipper MS Dhoni.
“No (Chennai did not err by not signing a replacement for Raina. They had plenty of options. Their senior players needed to stand up - du Plessis, Watson and Rayudu did; Jadhav didn’t. Gaikwad took his opportunity and he showed the senior players how to do it when he came into the XI in the final stages. MS Dhoni could have done a little better as well so no, you can’t blame all on one thing (CSK not signing a Raina replacement),” Hogg said in a video posted on his YouTube Channel.
CSK in IPL 2020 were a letdown, but so has been the batting of Rishabh Pant. The youngster, who entered IPL 2020 with the reputation of being the most impactful batsman in the tournament’s recent history, has scored his runs at a baffling SR of 109 and has looked like a pale shadow of his flamboyant self. Hogg stated that Pant’s ‘lack of intent’ stems from him following Ricky Ponting’s instruction, and urged the DC coach to unshackle the youngster to get the best out of him.
“I think Pant has been told by Ricky Ponting to bat a bit more conservatively this year. Ponting wants Pant to bat right through the innings and have a lot more not-outs against his name. Well this guy is a maverick. He is an entertainer; he goes out there and he dominates bowling attacks.
“You can’t hold him back. Look at the last two seasons, he’s had a SR of over 150 - he’s taken the game away from the opposition players. Take the shackles off him, let him loose and let him entertain, please, Ricky Ponting.”
Unlike Pant, Mumbai’s batsmen have, by far, been the most destructive and impactful players in IPL 2020, due to which the side has looked all but invincible all tournament. Mumbai are widely regarded as a team with no weakness, but, according to Hogg, one of Delhi or Sunrisers could stop the defending champions in the final by choking them with the bat in the death overs.
“Mumbai, if you look at their batting, yes they get off to a great start and they’re probably the second best in terms of run rate in the first ten overs. It’s the final 10 overs where they take the game away. They’ve got a RR of over 10 in the final 10 overs and that’s because they’ve got the big-hitting of the Pandya brothers as well as the likes of Pollard, SKY and Ishan Kishan. So you’ve got to have plans to counteract Mumbai in the final 10 overs of the game. Yes they’ve got a quality bowling attack, but if you can keep that run-rate down, you’ve a better chance of beating them in the final.”