Ahead of Chennai’s fixture against Punjab, Daniel Vettori has reckoned that it is hard to leave Imran Tahir out of any side in the shortest format which was supported by Irfan Pathan. Irfan, on the other hand, added that Deepak Hooda can emerge himself as PBKS’ No.4 batsman, ahead of Pooran.
While Chennai Super Kings put out an amazing effort with the bat, the bowling department failed to impress in their opening clash against Delhi Capitals. Not just the season opener, last season, CSK endured the worst phase in the middle-overs, where they were not upto the task of picking up wickets.
In 2018, the Men in Yellow had marked themselves as the most successful side in the middle-overs, where they were led ably by Imran Tahir, who picked up 26 wickets and finished as the purple cap winner. While CSK went late with Tahir last season, former RCB coach and Kiwi star Daniel Vettori reckoned that it is hard for any T20 franchise to leave Imran Tahir out of their setup.
“I think yeah, it is hard to leave Imran Tahir out of any T20 side, his wicket-taking ability and his economy rate is something exceptional. It is something that Chennai will look close at but they know better than we do what his form and fitness at the moment,” Daniel Vettori told ESPNCricinfo.
However, at the same time, with Chennai playing their first five fixtures at the Wankhede, a ground that has traditionally favoured pacers more than spinners, Vettori hinted that using him at the Wankhede might not be CSK’s strong suit. Vettori also insisted that Chennai might have a plan in place for the leg-spinner going into the latter stages of the tournament.
“Probably they are holding him back realising that 14 games is a big ask for him and they always look at the right conditions. Chennai always look at the right balance and Dhoni backs his gut on it and surprisingly, it is not backing Tahir at the moment and won’t be surprised if it changes.”
“They can afford a leg-spinner, they have that big a batting order, Imran Tahir, he has been benched after becoming the highest wicket-taker in the league and for Chennai. So I think Chennai can afford to get him into the side,” Irfan Pathan added.
While problems aplenty for the Super Kings, Punjab Kings got off to a racing start against RR, with Deepak Hooda firing all cylinders. Irfan added that Hooda is someone that Punjab can utilise at No.4, especially with his ability to not just play the merit of the ball but score across the ground. The former all-rounder also suggested that it allows Shahrukh Khan and Nicholas Pooran to play with more freedom.
“Deepak Hooda can really bat at No.4, he can manoeuvre the ball and play on both sides of the pitch. He can play on the covers, on the leg-side, he has become a better player and playing him at No.4 allows for Shahrukh Khan and Nicholas Pooran to go all-out attacking,” Pathan insisted.