Chennai Super Kings opener Shane Watson has said the absence of Suresh Raina will give a ‘seriously good batsman’ like Murali Vijay more opportunities in IPL 2020. Last month, CSK suffered a big blow when Raina sensationally pulled out of IPL 2020 citing personal reasons.
Missing him will be a mighty blow for the three-time champions. The southpaw has been CSK’s batting mainstay since the inaugural season of IPL in 2008. He is CSK’s all-time leading run-scorer in the history of the IPL. Shane Watson admitted that Raina’s absence is a big loss for the team but backed Vijay to get more opportunities in the upcoming season.
Vijay is well below in the pecking order at CSK. The Chennai-based franchise re-signed him in 2018 but he has struggled to get regular chances in the playing eleven. In 2018, he managed to play just a solitary game before getting only two games last year.
“No doubt he [Raina] is a big loss but we have got someone like Murali Vijay, who is a gun player. In T20 cricket, he has not got a lot of opportunities in the last few years, But he is a seriously good batsman. He was sitting on the sidelines last year, he might get more opportunities this year,” Shane Watson told Quetta Gladiators’ head of player acquisitions, Nabeel Hashmi in a YouTube show.
Shane Watson on Harbhajan Singh’s absence:
Soon after Raina’s decision, veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh also pulled out of the competition citing personal reasons. It is yet another blow for CSK especially considering that pitches in UAE will be on the slower side. Having joined CSK in 2018, Harbhajan had picked up 16 wickets last season when CSK made it to the final.
Speaking on his absence, Shane Watson said that while the team will miss the spinner’s quality, his absence will give someone like Piyush Chawla more opportunities.
“Harbhajan, of course, has done incredibly well for CSK in the last couple of years. But again, on the other side, there is going to be opportunities for someone like Piyush Chawla who has come over from the Knight Riders.
“Of course, their experience and quality is going to be missed but you have got to make the most of the situation,” Shane Watson said.
Chennai Super Kings will take on last year’s winners Mumbai Indians in the tournament-opener on September 19. The MS Dhoni-led side will be looking to avenge their defeat in the last year’s final when they take on the four-time IPL champions.