There are almost 25 players in a squad, and it is not always feasible that every player gets a game in one season. Moreover, with the kind of competition for playoff spots that IPL produces, teams tend to adhere to their best players.
Chennai Super Kings had a forgettable campaign in 2020. However, the management did well at the auctions, and the team looks solid to make amends next season.
Although he did a few experiments last edition, MS Dhoni is one captain who not always likes to do too much chopping and changing. He likes backing his players, and that has paid dividends in recent years. If he employs a similar strategy for IPL 2021, there might be a few players who may not get a single game. We talk about them in the below headings.
1. Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara was one of the surprise selections by CSK at the auctions. He was picked up for just INR 50 lakhs at the event. Although he is a top batsman, Pujara is not a recognized figure in the T20s. CSK has a packed top order that includes the likes of Robin Uthappa, N Jagadeesan and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu are the middle-order batsmen whom the Saurashtra man must overcome. Therefore, the chances look very bleak for India’s Test No.3 in IPL 2021.
2. C Hari Nishaanth
Similar to Pujara, rising Tamil Nadu player C Hari Nishaanth may also not get a game next season. The reason remains the same. The top-order is packed, and being an opener, Hari’s chance could be limited. However, he can bat at No.3, but replacing Suresh Raina might not happen. If MSD requires a left-right combination at the top, he can move either Moeen Ali or Sam Curran to the opening slot. Hence, the in-form player may not get a game in IPL 2020.
3. K Bhagath Varma
K Bhagath Varma is a young off-spinner hailing from Hyderabad. He has done well in junior levels and is now making a mark in senior cricket too. CSK paid INR 20 lakhs to hire the services of Bhagath. However, the promising player may not get a chance to show his skills. While K Gowtham will be the preferred off-spinner, Moeen Ali will be the second option. One of these two players will always be in the XI, and that will limit the chances that Bhagath will get. Nevertheless, it will be a good learning curve for the player.
4. Mitchell Santner
Ravindra Jadeja will be the first name that goes into CSK’s XI in IPL 2021. Such has been his form that he is almost undroppable. Although CSK played Santner alongside Jaddu last season, it may not happen in 2021. Both are similar players, and with Moeen Ali’s arrival, there will be no need to have another overseas spin-bowling all-rounder in the XI. Moreover, R Sai Kishore is in form, and CSK may give him a few games. He takes up only a domestic position, and that will help the team’s balance. Hence, the Kiwi could miss out on playing next season.
5. Josh Hazlewood
Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur are India internationals who would share the bulk of fast-bowling duties in IPL 2021. Of course, there are able overseas partners in Dwayne Bravo and Sam Curran. If CSK needs more pace, Lungi Ngidi can come into the picture. There are also domestic talents like KM Asif and M Hari Shankar Reddy. Hence, Aussie quick Josh Hazlewood may not get a game next season. Unless it is a pitch that offers seam and swing, which is unlikely in India, the speedster might end up not playing a single match.