In a massive blow, Chennai Superkings will be missing out on the services of Deepak Chahar for a large portion of the IPL 2022, if not for the entire season. The 29-year-old remains a premier pacer in their lineup for whom the franchise even shelled as much as INR 14 crore. The cricketer had suffered a quadricep tear in the third T20I against West Indies last month and will take some time to recover; he is currently undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, according to a report in ESPN Cricinfo.
Deepak Chahar was the second most expensive buy at the IPL auction. He was chased by Delhi Capitals and Chennai Superkings before he was bagged by CSK for a whopping amount. Chahar was phenomenal in 2018 and 2021 with the new ball which only added to CSK’s repertoire. Not only with the ball, he can also play a crucial role with the bat as well. His two recent knocks vs Sri Lanka (69*) and South Africa (54) almost brought India on the brink of a win. The four-time IPL champion entered the fray with their first bid of Rs 11 crore and then secured the allrounder with others tapping out with a winning bid of Rs 14 crore.
Chahar walked off the field after he pulled up a muscle on his right leg during the third T20I vs West Indies. Till then, he had bowled brilliantly to remove two Windies batters—-Kyle Mayers and Shai Hope.
He was in his delivery stride when it appeared that he had pulled up a muscle in his right leg after which he stopped in his delivery stride and sat on the ground. The physio did rush towards him, but the damage was done and Chahar had to pull out of the game. He was seen walking off the field alongside the physio.
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IPL 2022: 3 players who can replace Deepak Chahar in the CSK XI
Chahar suffered a quadricep tear during the 3rd T20I between India and West Indies in Kolkata and limped off the field. Having been ruled out of the T20 series against Sri Lanka, Chahar’s injury is believed to take several weeks to heal.
Deepak Chahar was CSK’s costliest acquisition at the IPL 2022 auction last month at ₹ 14 crores and was expected to spearhead the side’s bowling lineup. This setback has now thrown a spanner into the works of the team’s composition.
From their current roster, CSK have enough Indian seam-bowling options to fall back on. While they may not come with the requisite experience, these players certainly have the potential to take on Deepak Chahar’s primary role as a powerplay enforcer.
We take a look at three such options from CSK’s bench who can be a decent alternative for Chahar in their starting XI.
#3 Mukesh Choudhary
Maharashtra’s Mukesh Choudhary bagged his maiden contract in the IPL 2022 auction with CSK picking him up at his base price of ₹ 20 lakhs. Choudhary is no stranger to the franchise though, having been associated with them as a net bowler last season.
This graduation from a net bowler to the main squad has been a swift one for Choudhary, who is a regular in the Maharashtra XI. Currently plying his trade in the Ranji Trophy, Choudhary happens to be the sole left-arm seamer in the CSK ranks.
This could tempt MS Dhoni in throwing the cat among the pigeons and unleashing the young seamer as a powerplay exponent. After all, a left-arm seamer is worth his weight in gold and Choudhary could, for all we know, have a breakout season by troubling top-order batters with his swing.
With the defending champions set to play four matches in Pune, the home ground of the Maharashtra team, familiarity with the venue is another factor that benefits Choudhary. He would make for a handy option to take on Deepak Chahar’s main role of bowling three overs in the powerplay in IPL 2022.
#2 Rajvardhan Hangargekar
Another player emerging from Maharashtra, Rajvardhan Hangargekar was part of India’s successful U19 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean last month. CSK picked up the exciting prospect for ₹ 1.5 crores in the IPL 2022 auction.
Hangargekar was the leader of India’s bowling attack in the competition. While he didn’t pick up a cluster of wickets as such, his bustling energy, coupled with his pace, swing and accuracy made fans sit up and take note.
Hangargekar has the makings of a proper bowling all-rounder, given his ability to tonk the ball long. If anything, this makes him the closest like-for-like replacement that CSK have in their ranks for Deepak Chahar.
Hangargekar was recently in the news with accusations of age fudging emerging. He has also given the Ranji Trophy a miss owing to personal reasons. However, if fit and available, it is likely that Hangargekar will get a good run in the playing XI come IPL 2022, with Deepak Chahar missing out.
#1 Simarjeet Singh
Skiddy, pacey and exciting – that’s Simarjeet Singh in a nutshell. The right-arm seamer from Delhi was another of CSK’s base price acquisitions at the IPL 2022 auction but could turn into a massive return on investment.
Simarjeet was a reserve bowler during India’s tour of Sri Lanka last year and was drafted into the main squad after a rise in COVID-19 cases in the camp. Shortly after, he was drafted into the Mumbai Indians (MI) setup for the UAE leg of IPL 2021 as a replacement for Arjun Tendulkar.
Reviewing the player auction on his YouTube channel, ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin talked up Simarjeet’s skills quite highly. Ashwin acknowledged that Simarjeet was no ordinary talent and that the Delhi Capitals (DC) were keen on signing him up as a replacement when he was a net bowler with the franchise.
Things have clearly looked good for the bustling seamer. Being on the radar of the Indian team last year puts him right up front as a potential replacement for Deepak Chahar.
With conditions at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai expected to favor movement with the new ball, Simarjeet Singh could be the ideal new ball bowler for CSK. He has a fiery yorker and could be groomed into donning the death bowler’s role in IPL 2022.