Sanjay Manjrekar wants Moeen Ali and Faf du Plessis to open the innings for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) against Delhi Capitals (DC) on Saturday.
In an interaction with ESPNcricinfo, Manjrekar admitted that the change will be hard on young Ruturaj Gaikwad, who hit three consecutive half-centuries while opening the batting for CSK last season.
But the former India batsman was quick to add that Moeen Ali's flamboyance at the top of the order could help CSK, who have great depth in their batting department.
"Lungi Ngidi isn't available so a foreign spot opens up and CSK should take advantage of it and if this strategy works, they might reap its long-term benefits as well. So I will go to Ruturaj Gaikwad and tell him 'hard luck, you played good last season' but Moeen Ali and Faf du Plessis is an exciting combination for the top of the order. Then Ambati Rayudu at No.3 and Suresh Raina at No. 4. Then they have good depth with MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur. So if Moeen Ali opens, then there is a 'danger' factor in the batting order," said Sanjay Manjrekar.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was a late entrant to CSK's playing XI last season, owing to health concerns. However, he managed to make his mark in IPL 2020, scoring 204 runs in six matches at an average of 51.
Moeen Ali a very good bowling option against Delhi Capitals' top-order: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar further added that Moeen Ali's off-spin could benefit CSK against the Delhi Capitals, who have three left-handed batsmen in their top six.
"Also, Delhi Capitals have 3 left-handers in the top 6 and Moeen Ali provides a very good white-ball bowling option," said Sanjay Manjrekar
Moeen Ali, on the other hand, looked in brilliant touch in the recently-concluded ODI series between England and India. Although he didn't feature in the T20Is, the all-rounder scored 59 runs and picked up eight wickets in the three ODIs.
CSK and DC will lock horns in the second match of IPL 2021, starting at 7:30 pm IST on Saturday, April 10.
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