Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar believes that the absence of Raina and Harbhajan will provide an opportunity for new blood to shine, but questioned whether CSK have the youngsters who can make a difference. Gavaskar feels that the absence of youngsters might hurt MS Dhoni’s ‘Daddy’s Army’.
Having won the title in 2018 and having reached the final in 2019 with their army of old men, CSK have once again stuck to the same mantra ahead of the IPL 2020 season, not making too many drastic changes. Barring a budding talent there and a youngster here, the side is predominantly filled with older, more experienced players and whilst they’ve often received flack for the same, the tactic has, to their credit, worked like a charm.
However, unlike previous seasons, the absence of two veterans - Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh - has created an untimely void in the side and with the team naming no replacements, the two spots are still up for grabs. Legendary cricketer and renowned expert Sunil Gavaskar observed that the absence of Raina and Harbhajan has opened the door for younger players to shine, but questioned whether Dhoni’s side has the calibre of youth who can make a difference to the team.
“The absence of Raina and Harbhajan has left a huge void in the CSK team, and it will be hard to replace such stalwarts. However, this provides an opportunity for youngsters to make their presence felt," said Gavaskar in an interview with Sports Tak.
“Any good IPL team must have a proper blend of experience and youth. Does CSK have the kind of youngsters whose energy can uplift the team? That is a huge question the Chennai team faces. Due to this factor, I feel CSK will find the going a little difficult this IPL,” questioned Gavaskar.
The focal point for CSK, heading into the tournament, will undoubtedly be skipper MS Dhoni, who only recently announced his retirement from international cricket, and Gavaskar believes that the veteran, now free of national burden, might take his game up a notch due to the freedom at his disposal. The 71-year-old, however, noted that the Men in Yellow will gravely miss the services of Raina, their highest run-getter of all time.
“Having taken retirement from international cricket, MS Dhoni will have no pressure as such, and that should take his performances a notch higher this season. Suresh Raina, meanwhile, has been an absolute master playing the IPL. As a left-hander, he offers the perfect balance for any team. CSK will sorely miss his services this year.”
CSK will kick-start their IPL 2020 campaign in two days’ time, versus Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Stadium in Dubai in what will be the curtain raiser for the competition.