IPL: 5 Cricketers who can replace Suresh Raina in Chennai Super Kings (CSK)

Raina's skills are on the wane. Thus, here we look at five players who can replace Raina in the CSK team.

Shahrukh Khan
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Shahrukh Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sahil Jain
SAHIL JAIN

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It was not too long ago that Suresh Raina was called ‘Mr. IPL’. Season after season, the left-hander churned out runs consistently. In fact, he is one of the reasons for Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) success over the years. At No. 3, Raina became a bank for CSK.

The Uttar Pradesh batsman never won the orange cap in the history of the IPL but for a long time, he held the record for most runs in the IPL. He is second on that list at the moment (5368 runs at an average of 33.34 and a strike-rate of 137.11). However, Raina’s form has dipped over the last few seasons.

In fact, in 2019, he amassed 383 runs at an average of 23.93 from 17 games. Also, Raina went through a second knee surgery in August which ruled him out of the initial part of India’s domestic season. Hence, it is unknown when Raina would make a comeback. Moreover, his skills are on the wane.

Thus, here we look at five players who can replace Suresh Raina in the CSK team

1. N Jagadeesan

N Jagadeesan has been warming the benches for quite a while now. The Tamil Nadu cricketer has been a part of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) set-up for the last few years but hasn’t been able to break into the playing XI yet. Despite MS Dhoni missing a few games last season, Jagadeesan didn’t get an opportunity.

However, the 23-year-old wicketkeeper has been in very good form. He has been doing well in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) as well. In fact, Jagadeesan was the leading run-getter this year.

He scored 448 runs at an average of 64.00 and a strike-rate of 137.42 in this year’s TNPL. Jagadeesan is a solid top-order bat and the No. 3 position would suit him as well. Hence, he is a good candidate to replace Suresh Raina in the CSK XI.

2. Shahrukh Khan

There is a lot of noise in Tamil Nadu cricket around Shahrukh Khan. The right-handed batsman has been around Tamil Nadu’s white-ball squads for a while now. He has done well over the last couple of years as well.

In the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), Shahrukh has been one of his team’s (Lyca Kovai Kings) premier batsmen. He is scoring runs consistently and his strike-rate is good too. Moreover, the 24-year-old has been a revelation in the Vijay Hazare Trophy for his state this year.

Thus, Shahrukh’s inclusion could help CSK boast their finisher’s department. It will also take some pressure off MS Dhoni who can afford to bat higher up the order as well. Moreover, Shahrukh will understand the nature of the pitches at Chepauk better as well.

3. Abhimanyu Easwaran

Abhimanyu Easwaran may be making all the noises and racking up big scores in red-ball cricket. However, the Bengal lad also has a very good white-ball record. Moreover, he has consistently scored runs in the shorter formats in the recent past as well.

He averages almost 50 in List ‘A’ cricket and has done well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year as well. Also, Easwaran has a good T20 record. In fact, he boasts of an average of 37.44 and a strike-rate of 132.15 in the shortest format of the game. He has scored a T20 hundred as well.

Thus, the 24-year-old could make a good replacement for Raina. He could well play the sheet anchor’s role at No. 3 and has shown that he can accelerate when needed. Hence, he could be a very good fit in the CSK side.

4. Murali Vijay

Murali Vijay is one of those typical Indian players who came up the ranks through domestic cricket. He first made his Test debut in 2008 but it was only in the IPL he got noticed. Opening alongside Matthew Hayden in the initial years of the Indian T20 league, Vijay made a name for himself by getting consistent scores. For a few years, Vijay was a regular in the CSK side and did well too.

However, he went through the grind of the Ranji trophy as well to make it back to the Test team after the famed duo of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag were left out. Hence, his rise in Test cricket collided with his inconsistency in the shortest format. Thus, he was left out of CSK and his reputation as a T20 player went down as well.

But Vijay seems to have got back his mojo. The Tamil Nadu batsman was in fine form in this year’s TNPL. He played just four games but scored 359 runs at a strike-rate of nearly 150. He has been in the CSK squad for the last couple of years as well but hasn’t played a lot. Thus, Vijay could be a good option too.

5. Dhruv Shorey

The name Dhruv Shorey has been doing rounds in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) circle for the last couple of years. The Delhi-born cricketer has constantly been seen on the field as a substitute. However, he has played a mere two games – one in 2018 and one this year.

Shorey has a pretty good record in domestic cricket. He made his debut in the 2015-16 season and has gradually moved up the ranks. He is currently the captain of the Delhi side. Moreover, Shorey has the ability to perform under pressure.

The stats might show that his red-ball game is better but he’s constantly improving and has done well in the shorter formats in the recent past as well. Thus, Shorey could well be a very good fit at No. 3 for CSK in place of Suresh Raina.