The Chennai Super Kings will play defending champions Gujarat Titans in the opening match of the 2023 Indian Premier League on March 31. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK had finished a disappointing ninth last year, and will be aiming at a much-improved outing as the squad is bolstered with the arrival of star English all-rounder Ben Stokes. The Super Kings broke the bank for the 31-year-old star, securing his buy for a whopping INR 16.25 crore in the auction last December.
However, former India opener Aakash Chopra seems puzzled with Stokes’ inclusion in the squad; during a video on his official YouTube channel, Chopra stated that Stokes likes to build his innings rather than going for the offensive straightaway, and that the Super Kings already have a similar player in Ruturaj Gaikwad.
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“As we saw in the World Cup as well, he likes to take his time in the middle. He plays better at no.3 as well, and in the IPL, his only century came when he batted up in the order. So, it’s hard to understand what’s happening there. Robin (Uthappa) isn’t there anymore, so were they searching for his replacement?” Chopra said.
Stokes had scored his only IPL century (during the 2017 season against the now-defunct Gujarat Lions) while batting at no.5; however, he arrived at the crease in only the second over of the innings when his side – Rising Pune Supergiant – were reduced to 10/3.
Further speaking on Gaikwad, the former India opener stated that the youngster might need to bring more aggression to his game, and drew a rather interesting analogy. “It is possible that Ruturaj Gaikwad hits the ground up and running. Right now, he starts slowly and picks pace as he builds the innings. But the days of diesel engine are over, we have EVs now. Ruturaj has to become an electric vehicle,” Chopra said.
While Gaikwad had a stellar season in 2021 when he scored 635 runs in 16 matches, the opener had a rather inconsistent outing a year later. In 14 matches, the opener scored 368 runs at a strike rate of 126.46.
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