Chennai Super Kings have been one of the most powerful teams in Indian Premier League history. In the 13 seasons of the prestigious T20 tournament in which CSK has participated, they have won four times and finished second five times. However, MS Dhoni and co. were nothing near their best in IPL 2022, finishing the league stage in second place.
CSK pushed past eight of its players, including Robin Uthappa, who retired from the IPL, in an attempt to justify themselves. They entered the IPL 2023 auction with a budget of INR 20.45 crore. Despite signing top-tier cricketers such as Ben Stokes and Kyle Jamieson to improve their squad, Chennai lost a trick by not adding specific players to their arsenal.
Here are three players CSK should have chosen at the auction but did not.
Number 1. Narayan Jagadeesan
In the Indian domestic circuit, Narayan Jagadeesan has been a reliable name. The Coimbatore native has appeared in 44 List-A games, scoring 2090 runs at an average of 49.76. In the shortest format, he has 1064 runs in 51 games with a strike rate of 118.61.
In the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022, Jagadeesan was in his element, dismantling bowling attacks for joy. The wicketkeeper-batter scored 830 runs for Tamil Nadu in eight games at a strike rate of 125.37, including five centuries.
Prior to the IPL 2023 auction, Chennai Super Kings had just Dhoni as their Indian wicketkeeper-batter. The renowned cricketer is nearing the end of his career, and it was expected that CSK will go to any length to re-sign Jagadeesan. Though the Chennai management expressed interest in acquiring him during the auction, they did not raise the paddle after the price was above INR 85 lakh. KKR eventually acquired the Coimbatore native with INR 90 lakh.
Number 2. Jaydev Unadkat
Jaydev Unadkat is a household name on the home circuit. His happiest hunting ground has been first-class cricket, where he has taken 370 wickets in 99 appearances at an average of 22.65. He also did well in the IPL, taking 91 wickets in nine games with an economy of 8.79.
With his fantastic bowling exploits, Unadkat lit up the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2022. He took 19 wickets in 10 games with an economy of 3.33. He returned to the Indian Test squad as a result of his outstanding performances.
With the exception of Deepak Chahar, CSK did not have any international-grade Indian pacers at their disposal, so the four-time IPL winners might have pursued Unadkat, who was in excellent form coming up to the 2023 player auction. However, Chennai did not show any interest in signing the ace pacer, and Jaydev joined the Lucknow Super Giants for the 16th season of the IPL.
Number 3. Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey is widely regarded as one of the best hitters in Indian cricket. In the Indian Premier League, the 33-year-old batsman has scored 3648 runs in 160 matches with a strike rate of 121.52.
Manish has kept the innings together while allowing the strikers to play freely. In the IPL, the ace batter has also shown the ability to quickly alter gears and take top-quality assaults to the cleaners. Furthermore, he has shown the ability to bat in both the top and middle orders.
There was a Uthappa-sized hole in Chennai Super Kings’ batting line-up as the franchise prepared for the IPL 2023 auction. Manish may have been considered if the club required a strong Indian hitter. Only the Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore raised their paddles to sign the Nainital native. Finally, DC chose him for INR 2.4 crore.