Chennai Super Kings went gung-ho for Piyush Chawla in the IPL 2020 Auction in Kolkata on Thursday and bagged him for a hefty fee of INR 6.75 crore in the end and CSK bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji explained why the three-time champions were so eager to have him after a few eyebrows were raised during the process.
Chawla, 30, who was released by Kolkata Knight Riders, bagged over INR 2 crore more than he was on at KKR in the end but joined a team that already has the likes of Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Harbhajan Singh as well as part-timers in Suresh Raina and Kedar Jadhav. Not only that, CSK also added Tamil Nadu youngster R Sai Kishore to their arsenal towards the end of the auction. For people who don't know Sai -- he ended as the highest wicket-taker in India's domestic T20 competition -- Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy in 2019.
Apart from Chawla and Sai Kishore, CSK continued their tradition of buying all-rounders and bagged English left-arm pacer and bat in Sam Curran for INR 5.5 Crore, Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood for INR 2 Crore as well
Speaking about their strategy, Balaji explained that having more Indian spinners add balance to the squad and allows CSK to play with overseas pacers.
"We wanted one all-rounder. In Sam Curran, we have one. Piyush (Chawla), the experience he brings in is great and he has been doing well since the inception (IPL) days," L Balaji told Star Sports during the auction.
"He will give a balance to the side.
"Josh (Hazlewood) is someone who is a bit like no one has seen in India. He can be our X-factor.
"Our conditions suit spinners. It's good to have as many spinners as we can. We have a lot more options. MS Dhoni likes to have spinners, especially leg-spinners. He is a good buy.
"If you need 2 foreign fast bowlers in the XI, then you can bank on that fast bowling department and Indian spinners. So experience comes in because Piyush has played enough games. He is one of the leading wicket-takers in IPL and he can bat too," Balaji said.
Head coach Stephen Fleming also shed some light on the buy and said Chawla shares a great relationship with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the team management beieves Chepauk is a place which will be dominated by spin.
"We rate him (Piyush) very highly. Captain has a great relationship with him. He has proven that he is a quality leg-spinner. We always favour spin at our home ground which is spin dominant. A lot of spinners isn't a bad thing," Fleming said.
Chawla himself was ecstatic at the prospect of joining CSK.
"There can’t be a better team than CSK to play for and better captain than MS Dhoni. As a player, you always want to be with a good team, play under a good captain and you can’t have a better team than CSK and a better leader than Mahi bhai. I can’t ask for more," Chawla told PTI.
He also revealed the reason behind KKR releasing him and stated that there is no bad blood between the him and the team management in Kolkata.
"It all depends on the combination. The KKR think-tank probably had a different combination on their mind. On Eden Gardens wicket now, there is not much for the spinners. They also told me that ‘we are looking for fast bowlers and there is no point having three quality spinners in the team’ and that is why they released me. So there is no bad blood between us. It is all in a healthy way," said Chawla.