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IPL 2021: From Cheteshwar Pujara to Harishankar Reddy, CSK Players to Watch Out For

IPL 2021: From Cheteshwar Pujara to Harishankar Reddy, CSK Players to Watch Out For

Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni, had a poor IPL 2020. The only team to have finished in the top four in every season leading to 2020 ended up missing the last place by a whisker. That's how tables changed, with CSK unable to adjust to new conditions in UAE.

Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni, had a poor IPL 2020. The only team to have finished in the top four in every season leading to 2020 ended up missing the last place by a whisker. That’s how tables changed, with CSK unable to adjust to new conditions in UAE.

IPL 2021: With a New Stance, Cheteshwar Pujara Hits Consecutive Sixes in CSK Nets | WATCH

CSK were an ageing side, built in 2018 on a short term basis. They were built to succeed in the slow, low pitches at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chennai and failed to tune their games to the demands of UAE conditions. Players pulling out, injuries through the season, lack of faith in young players… they all played a part.

CSK couldn’t revamp the squad before IPL 2021 too, as there was no mega auction. Yet, they made a few smart buys which might come of use this year. And despite their poor season, never write off CSK or MS Dhoni.

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Here are some players to watch out for.

Suresh Raina

The left hander skipped IPL 2020 for ‘personal reasons’, leading to plenty of drama off the field. Owner N Srinivasan was not pleased and went public with his displeasure. There were plenty of speculations that CSK might part ways with Raina, but that has not happened.

It’s not without reason that they call him Mr. IPL. An absolute superstar at No. 3 for CSK, Raina has 5368 runs from 192 IPL matches – the second highest run scorer in the tournament history only behind Virat Kohli. Can Raina repay the faith?

Moeen Ali

CSK couldn’t get Glenn Maxwell, but they went hard for Moeen Ali and got him for Rs 7 crore. As with many CSK buys, he could turn out to be a game changer. Moeen could fit in to the middle order, or CSK might even open with him and give him license at the top. CSK missed an offspinner last season and this year, they’ve filled in the gap.

Moeen is already a fan favourite – fans at the Chepauk stadium even asked him for Valimai movie updates during the Test match!

And he’s looking forward to playing under Dhoni too.

“I’ve spoken to players who have played under MS and they tell me how he improves their game. I believe a great captain does that. I think it’s something on every player’s wish list to play under MS. I think it’s the confidence and the clarity he gives people. It’s exciting,” he told CSK website.

M Harisankar Reddy

A surprise package? CSK’s scouts have gotten working and unearthed a pacer from Andhra. With a high arm action and nippy pace, Reddy has got fans excited. How CSK fit him is another question altogether. For now, here’s what he did to MS Dhoni in the nets.

Robin Uthappa

“To be the first guy to score 1000 runs in an IPL season. One of the things I consciously do as a human being is try to push myself outside of my comfort zone so that I can experience growth. I think that’s one thing that drives me in life as a person. I am really looking forward to that.”

This is what Uthappa told ESPNcricinfo when asked what record he’d like to break in IPL. If Uthappa can do even half of that, it will be a job well done for CSK. Uthappa, a big name in the IPL, has been off his best in the last couple of seasons. He has been vocal about wanting to bat at the top of the order, conceding that he’s not a good middle order batsman. CSK have traded him from Rajasthan Royals for this season, and could give him the opportunity at the top. Uthappa has been in terrific striking form in the Indian domestic circuit as well.

Cheteshwar Pujara

When CSK bid for Pujara at his base price of Rs 50 lakh, the auction room was filled with applause. Pujara last played in the IPL in 2014, and has since been branded a Test specialist. Pujara commands respect in that format, especially after his heroics in Australia.

But have CSK got him only as a token of appreciation for his Test exploits? Or do they see a role for him? Given how brittle their batting was last year, Pujara could find a role as an anchor. And although Pujara hasn’t been playing the IPL, CSK will hope he can adjust his game by using his experience, which they always value.

“I feel privileged to be part of such a franchise that respects the performance of the players for the national team. I am lucky that I will be playing under Mahi Bhai who was my captain when I made international debut,” Pujara told cricbuzz.