Chennai Super Kings drew a lot of criticism after the previous auctions due to the lack of young players in the squad. They were trolled mercilessly before the season started. However, the Chennai-based franchise proved that experience matters in the shortest format of the game by winning the 2018 season of the IPL.
However, the situation is not the same now. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, and Harbhajan Singh are not in the best of form. Kedhar Jadhav is fragile and Du Plessis’s availability is still a doubt. Murali Vijay cannot be relied upon at the top of the order and Shane Watson’s form is not known.
Bravo was not at his best last season and Karn Sharma being the only wrist spinner in the team is a concern. Only Rayudu, Jadeja and Deepak Chahar are fit and in form right now. Though CSK does possess some youngsters in Dhruv Shorey and N Jagadeesan, they still need a few players keeping the future in mind.
Based on the released list, CSK can only buy two Indian players at the auction with almost 10 crores in the purse. Hence, any two of these three domestic players can certainly ramp up the youth factor at CSK.
#3 Hanuma Vihari
Although his T20 credentials are still not proven, Andhra Pradesh’s 25-year-old Hanuma Vihari could be a good pick for CSK to complement their highly attacking batting unit. Hanuma Vihari made his India Test debut recently and he could be a regular if he performs well in Australia.
Vihari has previously played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and that experience could certainly help. We have seen traditional Test match batsman like KL Rahul turn into T20 stars and hence, CSK can hope for the same turnaround with Vihari.
Vihari’s part-time off-spin will fit well with MS Dhoni’s captaincy. CSK have enough money to go after him which could help them in the future.
#2 Rajneesh Gurbani
Vidharba’s 25-year-old Rajneesh Gurbani is one of the players who is expected to wear India colors next year. That is courtesy to his excellent performances in previous Ranji season. He topped the domestic bowling charts last season and he is currently part of the India A squad.
CSK have Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur as the Indian bowling options and Gurbani could be a good addition to the bowling line-up. He is young and one of the best pacers in the country. CSK should go for him if they have to build a strong bowling line-up next year.
#1 Axar Patel
The only possible reason for Axar Patel’s release by KXIP could be his high price tag. However, he could trigger a bidding war in the upcoming auctions.
CSK have two similar players in Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner. However, Axar Patel is young and is a proven quantity in the IPL. Bhajji and Karn Sharma do not form a great spin partnership and Axar’s inclusion might give more options to MS.
Axar Patel can be used as a floater in the batting department and could change a game in the matter of a few balls. He could be a wily customer with his spin bowling and is excellent on the field. Axar can be a good investment in keeping the future in mind and CSK might even spend their entire purse on this player.