Three-time Indian Premier League winners Chennai Super Kings released just six players ahead of the impending 2020 season auction in Kolkata thereby retaining the core member of their squad. Sam Billings, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Dhruv Shorey, David Willey and Mohit Sharma were released earlier last month.
Willey had joined the Yellow Brigade as a replacement for injured Kedar Jadhav in 2018 and had left the franchise to return home last season to his pregnant wife. CSK failed to get a replacement for the Yorkshire-based all-rounder. Sam Billings was let gone off owing to his poor returns as an opener. Scott Kuggeleijn, who was roped in last season as a replacement for injured Lungi Ngidi, is another overseas player who was released. Among the Indians, Mohit Sharma was released mostly because of his fitness issue.
CSK will hence head into the contest with five slots remaining including two for overseas players and INR 14.6 crore in the purse. However, with CSK retaining their core players and having their bases covered, the franchise is unlikely to go after big names in IPL 2020 auction on December 19. Here are the three possible players that CSK might target.
The boom young English opener can be roped in as a like-for-like replacement of Sam Billings. The 21-year-old fired has already drawn comparisons with Kevon Pietersen for his batting technique after an explosive T20 Vitality Blast tournament earlier this year where he emerged as the second-highest run-getter after amassing 549 runs in 13 games at 42.23 an average and strike rate of 161.47 with one century and four fifties.
The 24-year-old can be roped in as a like-for-like replacement for Dhruv Shorey. During Vijay Hazare Trophy, he played the finishing role for Tamil Nadu and even scored a gritty fifty in the semis to guide his team to the final. And in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he played the role of a floater. Yes, he failed to get big scores during the domestic T20 tournament, but often he got his side off to a flyer. Besides, CSK player Faf du Plessis is well acquainted with his game having watched him perform back in 2012 in Junior Super Kings tournament.
CSK have two pace all-rounders, but Sam Curran could be roped in not just as a back-up all-rounder, but also as a pace option. In nine matches he played in his debut season earlier in 2019, Curran bagged 10 wickets in nine games including a hat-trick. Meanwhile, Curran also amassed 95 runs at 172.72 a strike rate including one fifty.
CSK SQUAD BEFORE AUCTION:
RETAINED: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, M Vijay, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, Lungi Ngidi, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Monu Kumar, N Jaadeesan, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif.
RELEASED: Mohit Sharma, Sam Billings, David Willey, Scott Kuggeleijn, Dhruv Shorey and Chaitanya Bishnoi
PURSE REMAINING: Rs. 14.60 crores
SLOTS REMAINING: 5 (two overseas)