KNOW YOUR LIONS
One end of the spectrum quite enhances the other in the 25-member squad picked by the think-tank of the Chennai Super Kings at the 2018 IPL Player auction last month – the pendulum swinging from a highly experienced core group to a bunch of eight talented, uncapped domestic picks.
Narayan Jagadeesan, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Dhruv Shorey, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar Singh and Chaitanya Bishnoi will wear the Yellow with pride, very much aware of the high standards set by the much-decorated franchise in the opening decade of the competition.
Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership, the Lions won the IPL twice, finished runners-up on four occasions and qualified to the Playoffs in every season they featured in between 2008 and 2015. Not to forget the two Champions League T20 crowns.
Rajasthan medium-pacer Chahar emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the recent National Twenty20 championship with 19 wickets from nine games, including a devastating 5-15 against Karnataka.
Top-order batsman Shorey finished as the eighth highest run-getter in the same competition with 303 runs at an impressive average of 60.60 as Delhi clinched the coveted Mushtaq Ali Trophy by defeating Rajasthan in the final.
Jharkhand medium-pacer Monu Kumar, who has represented India U-19, finished among the top-10 wicket-takers in this season’s Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 12 scalps from eight innings while Bengal left-arm pacer Seth also impressed as he took nine wickets in six outings.
Jagadeesan is a promising ’keeper-batsman from Tamil Nadu and has played nine first-class matches and 13 T20s for his state.
Kerala’s Asif took five wickets in two inter-state T20 matches after making his debut this season and the fast-medium bowler regularly clocks 140 kmph.
Delhi T20 batsman Sharma and Haryana left-handed batting all-rounder Chaitanya Bishnoi were on CSK’s radar on the suggestion of talent scouts.
“We had identified these eight players ahead of the auction from inputs gathered,” said KS Viswanathan, CEO, Chennai Super Kings. “Chahar is a known name in domestic cricket and has previously played in the IPL. Shorey plays in the TNCA league, so obviously we have watched him closely, and he has had an excellent domestic season,” the CEO continued.
“L Balaji (Tamil Nadu & CSK bowling coach) was impressed by both Seth and Asif while skipper Dhoni suggested that we pick Monu. We heard of the promise and potential of Sharma and Bishnoi.
“Obviously all of them won’t make the final 18, some of these boys have been selected for development, they have the potential,” Viswanathan concluded.