One of the most consistent sides in the history of the Indian Premier League, Chennai Super Kings had their most underwhelming season in the 2020 edition. It was the first time they had failed to qualify for the IPL playoffs. Much of that failure was attributed to an ageing squad, with many players past their prime.
With the IPL 2021 auction fast approaching, the deadline to submit the list of retained players is not far away.
Let's look at five players CSK can look to release ahead of the auction:
Chennai Super Kings lacked a reliable Indian alternative for Imran Tahir ahead of IPL 2020, which is why they looked to strengthen that department at the auction.
Piyush Chawla seemed like the perfect fit, particularly with the Chepauk pitch providing assistance to spin bowlers. Consequently, they spent a massive Rs. 6.75 crore on him.
However, the tournament shifted to Dubai due to the COVID-19 outbreak in India, and Chawla struggled to adjust. He could not put a brake on the scoring and was unable to pick up wickets regularly.
Chawla leaked runs at 9.09 in IPL 2020, as opposed to his career economy rate of 7.87 in the tournament. His ineffectiveness meant one of CSK's strengths, their grip on the middle overs, was difficult to retain.
Considering the possibility of UAE hosting IPL 2021 as well, Chawla might prove to be a liability for the Men in Yellow. Hence he might be among one of the players CSK look to release.
#4 Murali Vijay
One of the most memorable IPL knocks from Murali Vijay was his 127* off 56 balls, which came in the 2010 edition. His T20 credentials kept improving since then and he played some impressive knocks for CSK in the next couple of years. 10 years down the line, Vijay is still with CSK, but that effortless strokeplay has gone missing.
After serving their two-year ban, CSK bought Vijay in the 2018 auction as a backup opener. In the two seasons prior to 2020, Vijay was used as a utility player by CSK, particularly when they rested their regular openers.
Suresh Raina's unavailability in the 2020 edition gave Vijay a permanent spot. However, the opener scored just 32 runs off 43 balls in three games, striking at a paltry 74.41.
It is unlikely that CSK will retain Vijay as the backup opener this season. They might look for a younger and more dynamic option from the domestic circuit.