CSK vs MI - Which team has better youngsters for IPL 2023? 

Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2023
Mumbai Indians (left) and Chennai Super Kings. Pics: BCCI

Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are the two most successful franchises in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While MI have won the title a record five times, CSK are just behind them with four titles. However, both sides struggled in IPL 2022 after they were forced to revamp their squads due to the mega-auction.

Mumbai finished last in the 10-team competition, winning only four of their 14 matches during the edition. Chennai also lost 10 of their 14 games but finished ahead of MI in the points table due to having a better net run rate. In the wake of their disastrous performance in IPL 2022, both franchises needed to have a good IPL 2023 auction.

MI purchased eight players at the auction, with Australian all-rounder Cameron Green (₹17.5 crore) being their most expensive buy. CSK, meanwhile, picked seven players, including roping in England all-rounder Ben Stokes for a whopping ₹16.25 crore.

Having spent lavishly on one player each, both MI and CSK had to settle by picking mostly youngsters with their remaining purses. As both sides look to rebuild, keeping IPL 2023 in mind, we compare the young guns of the two big sides.

Mumbai Indians (MI)

Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard pose with some MI young guns during IPL 2022. Pic: BCCI
Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard pose with some MI young guns during IPL 2022. Pic: BCCI

Aussie all-rounder Green sustained a finger injury during the Boxing Day Test against South Africa, but he has more than enough time to recover for the IPL. The 23-year-old could be MI’s X-factor in the upcoming edition. His big-hitting skills have been on display recently and he is a handy pace bowler as well (he can start bowling again from April 13).

Among the other players picked up by Mumbai at the IPL 2023 mini-auction, Duan Jansen is a promising left-arm seamer, while Mumbai all-rounder Shams Mulani has been in exceptional form in domestic cricket.

The left-arm spinner has already claimed 24 scalps in three matches of the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2022-23 season. He has also made some handy contributions with the bat. If utilized well, he has the ability to make a decent impact.

Shifting the focus to players who were retained ahead of the IPL auction, Tilak Varma, 20, was among the few positives for MI last season. The left-handed batter scored 397 runs in 14 matches at an average of 36.09 and a strike rate of 131.02, with two half-centuries. He batted with great maturing in what was an extremely tough season for MI.

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Ishan Kishan, the most expensive purchase at last year’s IPL auction, will go in with the confidence of having smashed the fastest ODI double ton. In the South African duo of Dewald Brevis and Tristan Stubbs, they have two explosive young batters waiting to take the cricket world by storm.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK)

Chennai’s young guns during IPL 2022. Pic: BCCI
Chennai’s young guns during IPL 2022. Pic: BCCI

Analyzing CSK, they went for India’s U19 World Cup 2022 stars Shaik Rasheed and Nishant Sindhu at the IPL 2023 auction. Both batters played a key role in India’s U19 World Cup triumph, but playing in the IPL will be a different cup of tea. Sindhu, 18, has displayed impressive form recently, cracking hundreds for Haryana in consecutive Ranji Trophy matches against Baroda and Odisha.

Among their retained players is another U19 World Cup sensation - all-rounder Rajvardhan Hangargekar. He was purchased amid much hype at the IPL 2022 auction but did not get a chance to represent CSK despite the franchise’s struggles in the edition.

The 20-year-old is still finding his feet in international cricket. The medium pacer did claim a five-fer for Maharashtra against Uttar Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and followed it up with four wickets versus Assam.

CSK will have high hopes from the Sri Lankan duo of Matheesha Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana. Rookie pacer Pathirana, who has modeled his action on Lasith Malinga, dismissed Shubman Gill with his first ball in the tournament. He impressed with his pace, although he played only a couple of matches.

Off-break bowler Theekshana has been a good addition to the CSK team. He can open the bowling as well, apart from striking key blows in the middle overs.

In nine IPL matches last season, Theekshana picked up 12 wickets at an average of 21.75 and an economy rate of 7.46. He will be looked upon as one of CSK’s strike bowlers in the 2023 season.

Shifting focus back to Indian options, Simarjeet Singh did a decent job with his medium pace in IPL 2022, although he had only four wickets to show for his efforts in six matches.

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CSK will also look to groom young leggie Prashant Solanki, who impressed with two scalps in as many games at an economy rate of 6.33 in IPL 2022.

Verdict? There is not much to choose between the youngsters from the two sides. While MI have a great pool of upcoming batters, they are slightly weak in bowling. The case is the opposite for CSK.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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