IPL 2020: Shane Watson names a batsman who can replace Suresh Raina in CSK's Playing XI

IPL 2020: Shane Watson names a batsman who can replace Suresh Raina in CSK’s Playing XI

Reacting to Raina's absence, CSK all-rounder Shane Watson has said that it will be 'incredibly hard' to replace a batsman like him.

Shane Watson and Suresh Raina
Shane Watson and Suresh Raina. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Chennai Super Kings were struck with two major blows after two of their most experienced campaigners– Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh pulled out from the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Both the veterans decided to withdraw due to personal reasons, jolting the Chennai franchise with their sudden departure.

Three-time IPL winners CSK are yet to name a replacement for any of the two players ahead of their season-opener against defending champions Mumbai Indians on September 19th in Abu Dhabi. Reacting to Raina’s absence, CSK all-rounder Shane Watson has said that it will be ‘incredibly hard’ to replace a batsman like him.

However, according to Watson, the team has enough squad depth to deal in this situation. Raina has been a key performer for the MS Dhoni-led side due to his consistency. ‘Chinna Thala’ is also CSK’s all-time highest run-getter in IPL history.

Raina is going to be hugely missed: Shane Watson

“We have to (deal with the absence of Raina, Harbhajan). The great thing with CSK, as with all IPL squads, they have a lot of depth. It’s going to be incredibly hard to replace Suresh Raina. You can’t. He scored the second-most runs in the IPL, played the most games in IPL history. He has got records left, right and centre,” said Watson on a YouTube show hosted by Quetta Gladiators’ head of player acquisitions, Nabeel Hashmi.

“He is going to be hugely missed, knowing the conditions in the UAE is hot, more chances of wickets being drier and turning a bit more. Raina plays spin incredibly well as well,” he added.

Watson, who has been representing CSK for two seasons now, also said that Raina’s absence will give an opportunity to Murali Vijay. Vijay has played just three games for CSK in the past two seasons, scoring 76 runs. But according to Watson, Raina’s withdrawal might be a blessing in disguise for Vijay, who once used to be a vital cog of CSK set-up.

“No doubt he [Raina] is a big loss but we have got someone like Murali Vijay, who is a gun player. In T20 cricket, he has not got a lot of opportunities in the last few years, But he is a seriously good batsman. He was sitting on the sidelines last year, he might get more opportunities this year,” said Watson.

Amid Harbhajan’s absence, Watson backed Piyush Chawla to deliver with the ball in CSK’s title heist. Chawla was roped in by CSK for a whopping Rs 6.75 crore in the player auction last year.

“Harbhajan, of course, has done incredibly well for CSK in the last couple of years. But again, on the other side, there is going to be opportunities for someone like Piyush Chawla who has come over from the Knight Riders. Of course, their experience and quality is going to be missed but you have got to make the most of the situation,” Watson further said.