Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 16 (ANI): Former opening batsman Gautam Gambhir feels Chennai Super Kings (CSK) need to have a replacement for Australian cricketer Shane Watson in the upcoming Indian Premier League's (IPL).
In November 2020, Watson announced retirement from all forms of cricket, ending a 20 year long illustrious career during which he was one of the world's premier white-ball all-rounders.
"Most importantly, I think 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. We are only talking about CSK because they haven't qualified for the first time in the playoffs," said Gambhir on Star Sports' show Cricket Connected
"That's why there's so much of talk and that's when you're playing away from home and your strength of the squad has always been built around the conditions you got to cater to - that's Chepauk where it's going to start spinning and gripping," he added.
Also, ahead of auction CSK released Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay and Piyush Chawla from the squad. Gambhir said CSK might look for an off-spinner in the auction with an eye also on an all-rounder.
"That's how MS plays his cricket over such a long period of time whenever he has captained the Chennai Super Kings. So yes, he might look at an off-spinner because Harbhajan Singh 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 not the same what he used to be," Gambhir said.
"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. Most importantly, they should have a smaller squad, because this is only an auction for one season. After this season, there's going to be a bigger auction. So, I don't think CSK will have an overall revamp," he added.
CSK had a poor IPL 2020 as the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side wasn't ab;e to qualify for the playoffs but youngsters like Ruturaj Gaikwad impressed everyone with his batting skills.
Gambhir also highlighted the role of youngsters in the CSK ahead of the IPL auction. The former cricketer also said Suresh Raina's inclusion will boost CSK's hopes in the upcoming tournament.
"It's very easy once you're out of the competition because there's not a lot of pressure, you can go out and play freely. Once you start the competition, there's a lot of expectation from CSK, that's when the youngsters will develop under pressure and perform when there's a lot of expectation - that's going to be a completely different ball game," said Gambhir.
"If you see a lot of young players who contributed in the later half of the competition, was only when CSK was out of the playoffs race. So, 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," he further said.
"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," Gambhir added.
Catch all the updates from the VIVO IPL 2021 Auction live and exclusive on the Star Sports Network on Thursday. (ANI)