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IPL 2019: 3 Reasons why CSK should pick Isuru Udana as Lungi Ngidi’s replacement

Ngidi's injury has been a blow to the CSK.

Lungi Ngidi
Chennai Super Kings’ Lungi Ngidi. (Photo by IANS)

After losing Lungi Ngidi, the lanky South African pacer, to an unfortunate injury for this entire IPL season, without even playing a single match for them, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) find themselves in a tricky position. Ngidi was one of CSK’s better bowlers last season as he picked up 11 wickets in the 7 matches he played at a magnificent economy rate of exactly 6.

So unsurprisingly, the fans, CSK’s team management and the Captain Cool himself were expecting him to be back with the boys and disturb some timber while also serving the batsmen with the dreaded chin music throughout this IPL season. But unfortunately, that isn’t to be.

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There are talks that CSK might replace Ngidi with some other overseas pacer soon, but no one is actually sure if the Chennai Super Kings’ management has zeroed in on someone yet. There are quite a few deserving players across the globe to don the yellow jersey in the IPL, and a strong contender among them is the Sri Lankan all-rounder Isuru Udana, who has been in scintillating form off-late with the bat in hand.

His heroics in the recently concluded T20I series against South Africa makes him the perfect candidate to feature for the Men in Yellow.

Here we bring you the three reasons why CSk should pick Udana:

1. Same Base Price as Ngidi

Isuru Udana
Isuru Udana. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

After performing very well in the IPL last year, CSK decided to retain Ngidi for the 2019 season of the cash-rich league. Ngidi was sold to the MS Dhoni-led side at his base-price of Rs 50 lakhs in the player auction of IPL 2018 and unarguably did justice to the money that was spent on him.

Given the fact that Isuru Udana’s base-price in this year’s IPL auction was also the same, it makes the argument only fair about the CSK considering him as Ngidi replacement. Moreover, the rules state that they can pick the replacement player with the same or lesser base price and there could not be a more deserving cricketer than Udana at the moment.

2. More than decent batting skills

Isuru Udana
Isuru Udana. (Photo by Richard Huggard/Gallo Images)

On comparing the two players’ batting abilities, the 31-year-old Sri Lankan emphatically triumphs over the 23-year-old South African. In the recently concluded series between South Africa and Sri Lanka, Isuru Udana showed immense batting potential in the limited-overs format. He batted with the tail like an in-form top-order batsman and received widespread appreciation.

Isuru Udana boasts of a phenomenal strike-rate of 153 in the T20 Internationals and can tonk the ball a fair way. In the recent South Africa series, he amassed 132 runs at an impeccable strike-rate of 171.42 and was the second highest run-getter in the three-match series. He could be used as a pinch-hitter in the CSK’s line-up or can put the finishing touches to the innings as well.

3. Exceptional death bowling skills

Isuru Udana
Isuru Udana. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

It’s a known fact that in international matches, Lungi Ngidi is one of the top bowlers in the world right now and Isuru Udana has a fair bit of distance to cover to get to that level. But the Sri Lankan has excellent death bowling skills which CSK is lacking at the moment. Along with Dwayne Bravo, he can arrest the run-flow of the opposition in the last few overs for the defending champions.

In the 116 domestic T20 matches that Udana has played, he has been in the wickets’ column quite frequently, claiming 128 wickets and bowling at an economy rate of 7.99, an average of 23.59 and a strike-rate of 17.7. The extra bit of experience that Udana has and his better batting skills, pretty much even things up when it comes to him replacing Ngidi.

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