IPL 2020 will be missing three IPL giants in Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga, who have cited personal reasons. The first two players will be dearly missed by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The left-handed top-order batsman has been the second-highest all-time run-getter in the IPL and has scored the most runs for CSK.
According to CSK opener Shane Watson, Raina can't really be replaced but the Chennai side has enough depth in the batting side just like all the other teams in the competition. He spoke about how Murali Vijay will get his due with Raina absent in the batting order.
"We have to (deal with the absence of Raina, Harbhajan). The great thing with CSK, as with all IPL squads, they have a lot of depth. It's going to be incredibly hard to replace Suresh Raina. You can't. He scored the second-most runs in the IPL, played the most games in IPL history. He has got records left, right, and center," Watson told Quetta Gladiators' head of player acquisitions, Nabeel Hashmi, on a YouTube show.
"He is going to be hugely missed, knowing the conditions in the UAE are hot, more chances of wickets being drier and turning a bit more. Raina plays spin incredibly well as well," he added.
The 39-year-old said, "No doubt he [Raina] is a big loss but we have got someone like Murali Vijay, who is a gun player. In T20 cricket, he has not got a lot of opportunities in the last few years, But he is a seriously good batsman. He was sitting on the sidelines last year, he might get more opportunities this year."
Murali Vijay was a regular opener for CSK in earlier seasons but missed out on a lot of opportunities as he wasn't as consistent. Watson believes that Raina's absence might be a blessing in disguise as Vijay might get to come into the side.
The all-rounder also spoke about the added opportunities and responsibility on the leg-spinner Piyush Chawla as Harbhajan Singh has also pulled out of the tournament.
"Harbhajan, of course, has done incredibly well for CSK in the last couple of years. But again, on the other side, there are going to be opportunities for someone like Piyush Chawla who has come over from the Knight Riders. Of course, their experience and quality are going to be missed but you have got to make the most of the situation," Watson concluded.