Harbhajan Singh has withdrawn from the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League, citing personal reasons. The veteran Indian off-spinner became the second Indian player from the franchise to opt out of the upcoming edition - the other being Suresh Raina.
However, Harbhajan had been a key member of the side in their last two seasons and his absence will be felt when CSK takes on the field.
Former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta believes all-rounder Jalaj Saxena could be a handy option for CSK to replace Harbhajan in the squad.
“I think Jalaj Saxena deserves a place, he’s a good enough all-rounder. I think they might look at him, he’s a very good option for Bhajji’s replacement,” Dasgupta told ESPNCricinfo.
“He’s someone who has got a lot of experience not just in red ball cricket but also in white ball cricket he’s been around for a while.”
Saxena played for Delhi Capitals in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League. However, he was released by the franchise ahead of the auction. Saxena is among the domestic veterans in Indian cricket, and has played in 54 T20 matches so far, taking 49 wickets. He is a top-order batsman and has scored 633 runs in the shortest format so far.
Saxena may also provide CSK with an option of a spin-bowling all-rounder. Kedar Jadhav is currently the only player who fits the role in the CSK squad.
Dasgupta further said that CSK will miss him because he brings a lot of experience.
“Yes, he wasn‘t a regularity, didn’t play all the games last season but having said that when you’ve got someone as experienced as Harbhajan and we’re talking about all those 50 plus matches being played on only 3 venues,” he said.
“In the 2nd half of the tournament, those pitches will get tired, there will ware and tare so it will definitely help the spinners. From the experience part, yes (they will miss him), and of course he was only off-spinner. He didn’t play much after last season but with someone of that experience, you have to back them and that’s what CSK has done. So they will miss him, maybe not too much but a bit for sure.”