It’s time for CSK to replace Shane Watson in squad: Gambhir

Australian all-rounder Watson, 39, had an average performance during the 2020 IPL edition, where CSK did not qualify for the play-offs for the first time in the history of the lucrative league.

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir believes that Chennai Super Kings now need to find a replacement of ageing stars Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo in the upcoming IPL auction for the 2021 season.

Australian all-rounder Watson, 39, had an average performance during the 2020 IPL edition, where CSK did not qualify for the play-offs for the first time in the history of the lucrative league.

“They need to have a replacement straightaway for Shane Watson because obviously, that is one area. Plus, they didn’t have Suresh Raina last time around. So, Suresh Raina will be available,” Gambhir said while speaking on Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected.’

The IPL auction is scheduled for Thursday in Chennai.

Since the IPL will be back in India in familiar conditions, Gambhir felt skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni may ring in a few more changes.

“……that’s Chepauk where it’s going to start spinning and gripping. That’s how MS plays his cricket over such a long period of time whenever he has captained CSK. So he might look at an off-spinner because Harbhajan has been released, Shane Watson and probably another all-rounder or a backup for someone like Dwayne Bravo, because probably age is catching up on him as well.”

“He’s (Dwayne) not the same what he used to be. So, probably there could be an all-rounder and plus an overseas batter, because there are two overseas batters normally who open for CSK. There’s not going to be too many changes to be honest.” Gambhir also said that CSK should have a smaller squad because “this is only an auction for one season.”

He said, “After this season, there’s going to be a bigger auction. So, I don’t think CSK will have an overall revamp.” The return of Raina, who pulled out of the tournament last season, will add strength to CSK squad.

“This time around, Suresh Raina coming back will be a huge boost for CSK because he plays T20 cricket really well and he’s done a lot of good things for CSK. At the same time, they will have new players coming in, whether it’s a replacement for Shane Watson or probably an off-spinner or an all-rounder. So, when new players come in, obviously they will bring new ideas, they bring new energy as well. I am sure those are the areas CSK will be looking for,” he added.

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