Chennai Super Kings (CSK) found a gem in Mahesh Theekshana during the IPL 2022 mega auction, but with the Sri Lankan spinner’s uncertain availability for IPL 2023 due to international commitments, CSK may need to look for a suitable replacement.
While Theekshana’s ‘mystery’ spin proved effective in the last season, here are three potential replacements who could fill the void for the Chennai-based franchise.
1) Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali is an English all-rounder who has played for various franchises in the IPL. He is a versatile player who can contribute with both bat and ball. Ali is also an experienced campaigner in the international cricketing arena, which makes him a valuable asset for any team.
In the IPL season 2021 and 2022, Moeen Ali played for CSK and scored over 600 runs in just 25 innings at an average of 25.33 and a strike rate of 135.25. With the ball, he picked up 14 wickets in 25 innings at an economy rate of 6.31. His off-spin bowling could be a handy addition to the CSK team, and he could also bat in the middle order to strengthen the team’s batting lineup.
2) Mitchell Santner
Mitchell Santner is a New Zealand all-rounder who has played for CSK in the past. He is a left-arm orthodox spinner who has a good record in the T20 format. He has played in various T20 leagues around the world, including the IPL, and has proven to be a consistent performer.
Santner has played 12 IPL matches, taking 10 wickets at an average of 27.77 and an economy rate of 7.05. His batting skills could also come in handy for CSK in the lower middle order. Santner’s ability to contain batter in the middle overs could prove to be valuable for CSK in IPL 2023.
3) Ajay Mandal
Ajay Mandal is a young Indian spinner who could be a surprise package for CSK in IPL 2023. He plays for the Services team in domestic cricket and has impressed with his performances in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. He is a right-arm off-spinner who has a good range of variations and can be a wicket-taking option for CSK.
Mandal took 8 wickets in 4 matches in the 2021-22 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at an economy rate of 5.83. He could prove to be a cost-effective option for CSK and could be a good fit in the team’s strategy of playing spin-heavy.