The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was postponed last month due to COVID cases inside the bubble. However, after a long wait, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has finally confirmed that the remainder of IPL 2021 will take place in September-October in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
However, entering the second phase of the cash-rich league, the biggest headache for all the IPL teams will be the availability of their overseas players. No one has a clear idea as to which player will be available and which player would not for the remaining part of the IPL 2021. However, the England Cricket Board (ECB) already confirmed that England players won’t participate in the remainder of IPL 2021.
Meanwhile, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are going to be one of the most affected teams due to the unavailability of the English players. They were heavily dependent on Moeen Ali and Sam Curran during the first half of IPL 2021.
However, their Indian core is strong and thus, their playing XI still looks good on paper. In this article we will look at the Chennai Super King’s playing XI without English players.
Openers: Faf du Plessis & Ruturaj Gaikwad
Faf and Gaikwad would open the innings for them like always. In the games held in India, one of Faf or Ruturaj used to perform well for the yellow army. They also did well together in a few matches. In the back end of IPL 2020, the duo also did well in UAE. CSK will hope that this will continue for the second phase of IPL 2021. Anyways, CSK will have backups in the form of Robin Uthappa and N Jagadeesan if required.
Middle Order: Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni
Suresh Raina, Rayudu, MS Dhoni would bat a position higher. This would force the CSK management to pick Gowtham in the Playing XI.
The presence of Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, undoubtedly ensured a deep batting line-up for CSK. However, without these two players, CSK will have to rely heavily on their Indian middle-order players.
Suresh Raina will return to his favourite No.3 spot. He must now produce the performances that he is famous for. Ambati Rayudu showed glimpses of his previous self in the first phase of IPL 2021. He must continue the momentum. MS Dhoni should now contribute more with the bat.
All-Rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Krishnappa Gowtham and Dwayne Bravo
Without Moeen and Sam, Jadeja’s responsibility in all-round department will only increase. He will have to lead this department well. His value in the batting line-up will now be more than ever. It would not be a surprise if Dwayne Bravo also moves up a little in the batting order to contribute to the batting unit.
Chennai’s most expensive fish in the IPL 2021 auctions, Krishnappa Gowtham would also get a chance in the playing XI. With Moeen missing, CSK will need a right-arm off-spin option, and hence Gowtham is expected to play in UAE.
Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir
Shardul Thakur might miss out because CSK will have to include a more reliable bowling option in UAE. Since they still have the option of including an overseas player, Ngidi could play the rest of the games in IPL 2021.
Tahir can also be a good option with the ball given the bigger ground dimensions in the UAE. Chennai Super Kings have been a team that has been a spin heavy unit over the years and the UAE conditions with pitches slowing down as the season goes on make him an interesting option. Deepak Chahar will now have extra responsibility since Curran will be unavailable in the powerplay.