'Dhoni loves it when...': Ashwin backs forgotten IND star to take Rayudu's spot | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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'MS Dhoni loves it when...': Ashwin namedrops forgotten India star as CSK's main target to take Ambati Rayudu's spot

Dec 03, 2023 07:00 AM IST

Ambati Rayudu was among the players that CSK released as he announced his retirement after the 2023 season of the IPL

Ambati Rayudu had been an integral part of Chennai Super Kings' (CSK) title victory in the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) but he is among the players that they have to find a replacement for next season as he retired after the final. Sure enough, Rayudu's name was among the list of released players that CSK recently revealed.

Rayudu's position will be among those that CSK will be looking to fill in the IPL auction.(ANI)
Rayudu's position will be among those that CSK will be looking to fill in the IPL auction.(ANI)

Ravichandran Ashwin, who played for CSK between between 2008 and 2015, has said that while there are quite a few candidates that they could go for to play in that No.4 position, there could be one name that the team might be motivated to go for more than anyone else. While Shahrukh Khan, who was surprisingly released by the Punjab Kings ahead of the 2024 auction, will be in their crosshairs, he is not a like for like replacement of Rayudu.

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“I have a feeling that they will invest it on Karun Nair. They are searching for a replacement for Ambati Rayudu. Shahrukh is not a replacement for him at No.4. I have no idea who they are going to play in that position this season. They might try a left-hand option but if you look at CSK's track record, they have never gone for an unknown commodity. They have never played anybody who just did well in their first season of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. So Karun Nair, folks, brace yourself to see him in yellow. I am not committing to anything, just doing a little Ravi Shastri impression,” said Ashwin on his Youtube channel.

‘He has a Test triple century in Chennai’

Nair remains best known for best known for the unbeaten 303 that he scored in a Test against England at the Chepauk Stadium in December 2016. However, that was the only time in six Tests that he played in which he posted a score of over 50 and he hasn't been able to make it to the national side since March 2017. He has struggled to find chances to play in the last three seasons of the IPL but had scored 301 at a strike rate of 136.19 playing for Kings XI Punjab in 2018.

“He is somebody who can play spin well, who could sweep and reverse sweep. MS Dhoni loves it when there is a batter who can play between the top order and the middle order in the No.4 slot, especially in Chennai. I feel Karun Nair is perfect for that. I haven't really seen Manish Pandey play spin too much in Chennai but Karun Nair, remember has a triple hundred in a Test match played in Chennai,” said Ashwin.

“He could also go to SRH, there will definitely be competition so he could go for a decent price. He has also done well in County cricket recently. He has had a tough time in the last few years. It is not easy, you score a triple century in Test cricket and all of a sudden you find yourself nowhere. That is very difficult for any person's mental make up but he has fought it out so hats off Karun. He did well in the KPL as well so, it all looks good for him,” Ashwin furthe said.

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