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The Chennai Super Kings were dealt a huge blow in Indian Premier League 2014 when their star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo picked up an injury in their previous game. Shiamak Unwalla takes a look at the possible consequences of his absence, and who can be his replacement.
Dwayne Bravo is an immensely likeable cricketer. One look at him and you can see the quintessential Caribbean flavour that cricket lovers across the globe have come to love him for. He bowls seemingly innocuous, yet surprisingly potent medium-pace, he bats with a typical Trinidadian flair, and he fields like a ballet-trained Olympic sprinter.
No wonder, then, that Bravo was one of the five players retained by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014. For a team replete with all-rounders, Bravo was the first choice for most of last year’s edition of the IPL ahead of Albie Morkel. His batting has been solid (he once hit a six with five runs needed off the final ball against Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012), and he was the winner of the Purple Cap for most wickets during IPL 6.
Bravo injured his shoulder while fielding in CSK’s first game against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). He didn’t bowl at all in that innings, and Punjab romped home on the back of some blistering batting by Glenn Maxwell and David Miller. His absence was sorely missed.
Chennai came back very strongly against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to trounce them by 93 runs. Ben Hilfenhaus played as the fourth overseas player and was moderately successful. Chennai are lucky to have the services of Dwayne Smith, whose cutters are not quite as probing as Bravo’s, but are effective nonetheless. In the two matches so far, Smith has two wickets, and at an economy rate of a shade under nine. While this may seem high, one must keep in mind that one of those games was against
Maxwell and Miller the Kings XI Punjab, who have scored in excess of 190 in each of their three games so far.
Chennai have traditionally had an affinity for all-rounders, right from the first edition of the IPL. Scott Styris, Jacob Oram, Andrew Flintoff, Chris Morris, Albie Morkel, and Bravo himself have appeared for them. Given this preference for all-rounders, it is likely that either Baba Aparajith or John Hastings will get a game sooner or later. While Aparajith will provide Dhoni an additional off-spinning option, Hastings will bring another fast-medium option to the fray. If Dhoni wants to break the habit and go in with specialists, he might be tempted to test out the rookie New Zealand pacer Matt Henry or the No 1 ranked bowler in Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) at the moment, Samuel Badree. Indeed, most sides would have started with Badree as a permanent member of their playing XI.
Of course, none of these players will bring quite as much to the table as Bravo does, and only time will tell how much this will affect the campaign of the most successful team in IPL history.
(Shiamak Unwalla is a correspondent with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)
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