Three or four weeks back, CSK was one of the favorites to make it to the IPL playoffs, but things have changed dramatically recently as some of CSK’s key players have decided to withdraw themselves from the tournament.
CSK still has got some quality players at their disposal, none bigger than the captain MS Dhoni himself, but the chances of CSK qualifying for the playoffs seem to have slimmed a little bit now.
Here are the 5 reasons why CSK might not qualify for the playoffs in IPL 2020 –
Withdrawal of Suresh Raina
MS Dhoni might be CSK’s biggest name, but Raina, by no means, has been second to Dhoni in terms of winning the matches for CSK. The left-hander, over the years, has made as much impact with the bat for the men in yellow as Dhoni himself has and his absence at the no. 3 position is going to be a massive blow for CSK.
Raina was such an indispensable part of CSK’s line-up that they don’t even have a back-up no. 3 at this stage because they expected Raina to play all the games.
Withdrawal of Harbhajan Singh
After Raina, Harbhajan Singh also pulled out of IPL 2020 because of personal reasons and while CSK has got plenty of other spinners in the squad, Harbhajan was the only specialist off-spinner they had.
If they were up against a team that had a lot of left-handers, Harbhajan would always be one of their main weapons with the ball, but with him out now, CSK doesn’t have anyone who can take the ball away from the left-handers with his stock delivery.
Late arrival of overseas players
Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir, and Sam Curran, who are some of the big overseas names in the CSK squad, are expected to arrive late in UAE. While Bravo and Tahir are playing in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League, Curran is a part of the England squad for the white ball games against Australia.
Although all of them are expected to arrive before the starting date of the IPL, they can’t start training after their arrival straightaway. They will have to quarantine for 7 days and will have to return three negative COVID tests to start training.
So, CSK might be without their services for the first two or three games and that will affect the team a lot.
Late comeback of Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad
Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad are the two CSK players who are COVID positive at the moment. While Chahar was absolute certainty in the CSK XI, Gaikwad was also expected to play in Raina’s absence. However, they are quarantined now and will have to return two negative COVID tests after 14 days to start training.
Even after Chahar and Gaikwad turn COVID negative, it might take them a couple of more weeks to return to full fitness and they might also not be available for a few games.
Lack of match practice for key players
MS Dhoni, Shane Watson, and Ambati Rayudu are now the most important players for CSK for the upcoming IPL season and none of them has played that much of competitive cricket at the highest level in the last year or so.
All three of them are veterans and have already retired from international cricket. They have not even featured for their domestic teams at any stage since June 2019 and it’s really uncertain how they will fare up in the initial stages of the tournament without much match practice.