08.05.2019 Author: C.NAMASIVAYAMIf somebody asks a professional sportsman what they fear the most, the instant reply would always be the horror of getting injured. That is one thing that is not within the control of a sportsman, however fit he is.
Kedar Jadhav is at present facing that dreaded syndrome after injuring his left shoulder while fielding in the deep in the match against Kings XI Punjab at Mohali. To be fair to the circumstances, for CSK, Jadhav's injury seems to be a blessing in disguise.
Jadhav has been woefully out of form in this year’s IPL having scored a mere 162 runs in 12 innings at an average of 18. Had he been in any other team, he would have been dropped a long time back perhaps along with Shane Watson.
The very fact that Kedar is under Dhoni has given him an extended run in the tournament. Perhaps that might have acted against his interest as there was no fear of being dropped from the team.
That kind of state of affairs has resulted in Jadhav’s casual approach to batting causing a lot of frustration to the team and the CSK fans. In the absence of any contribution from Jadhav and Watson, it seemed as if CSK had been playing with only 9 players right through the league stages.
Now that, by a design of fate, Jadhav is doubtful for the Qualifier, CSK should look forward to filling in the vacancy with another player who could make a more meaningful contribution to the team. It might sound harsh on Jadhav but this is nothing but an assessment of his recent form in the tournament.
For CSK, there are three options to replace him.
#1 A like for like replacementThe first option for CSK would be to replace an Indian batsman with an Indian batsman. It would be a straight forward swap without upsetting the team composition and batting order.
The two Indian batsmen on the reserves for CSK are Murali Vijay and Dhruv Shorey. Since Shorey bats in the middle order, he stands a good chance of being selected if CSK opts for this route.
#2 An all-rounder to suit the conditionsThe second option for CSK would be to replace an Indian batsman with an Indian bowler who could bat a bit. Karn Sharma fits in that bill perfectly. He is quite capable of scoring a few runs like a Shorey and at the same time could contribute with the ball with up to four overs.
Karn could be the sixth bowling option for CSK if the fast bowlers travel the distance. He is a better fielder and a left-hand batsman to add some variety to the batting line up. The Chepauk wicket should suit his kind of bowling.
#3 A double tweak but one that brings balanceThe third option is a circuitous option necessitating 2 changes. This option is by far the best option for CSK but an unlikely option under MS Dhoni.
The best option for CSK would be to bring in Vijay in place of Jadhav and replace Watson with Mitchell Santner. Vijay should open the batting with Faf du Plessis and Santner would be the third all-rounder in the middle order.
This option would strengthen CSK’s bowling resources manifold without weakening its batting resources much. In any case, Watson has a horror IPL season so far and his poor form has put plenty of pressure on du Plessis and Suresh Raina.
By slotting Vijay at the top of the order, CSK can negate Mumbai’s strategy of opening the bowling with spinners as Vijay is a better player of spin compared to Watson
In CSK’s league match against MI at Chepauk, Santner returned with best bowling figures of 4-0-13-2. He is no mug with the bat. He would be a welcome addition to this CSK line up.
To sum up, the CSK think tank has 3 different options to fill in the vacancy created by the injury to Jadhav. Though the third option seems to be a better one, there is every possibility that Dhoni might go in for the first option.