The Indian T20 League 2023 auction is set to take place in Kochi on Friday (December 23). Four-time champions Chennai Franchise, led by MS Dhoni, will need to rebuild and regroup after finishing in 9th place in 2022 and failing to qualify for the Playoffs stage. With all-rounder Dwayne Bravo retiring from the league, there is a big hole that the Chennai side needs to fill.
Former Indian batter Robin Uthappa has predicted Chennai’s cash-rich league’s 2023 auction plans and noted the areas they will look to fill. Notably, Uthappa played in the previous season for the Chennai Franchise, which turned out to be his last and his retirement has now opened up a slot for an Indian batter.
“Chennai, they need an all-rounder to replace Dwayne Bravo and they need a solid India middle-order batter as a backup for the players that they already have. In that, I think they will look for the likes of Sam Curran because he has already played for them in the past, he’s done well for them and has contributed to their success so they will definitely try and go for him.
“The second one would be an Indian batter in the middle order and the ones that are available in this auction seem to be like Manish Pandey, he has done exceptionally well in the major league and is also someone who is experienced and would really enjoy playing in the Chennai culture. These are the two players they will go for but in case they don’t get them – I am certain there are other options that they already have.” Uthappa was quoted as saying.
‘They are not going to drop Russel’- Uthappa
Uthappa also shared his thoughts on the list of players that the Kolkata Franchise would look at. However, the side is left with a purse of Rs. 7.05 Cr. He has opined that the franchise will look for three players ahead of the auction in order to secure their services.
“KKR would be looking for three players in this auction – one would be an Indian backup wicketkeeper for Gurbaz. In case they want flexibility in playing both Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson, Gurbaz is the one who would have to sit out as they are not going to drop Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. The second player is a backup to Andre Russell. IPL is going back to its original format. So, it is not going to be just one or two venues. There will be a lot of travel. KKR is one such team that travels the most.
“Kolkata is really far away and they travel at least 2-3 thousand km more than all other teams. So, keeping those things in mind, you will have to have a backup just in case, Russell pulls up or he has not recovered due to back-to-back matches. Third would be an Indian fast bowler who would be a backup to Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav. They have a couple of youngsters in their group, but they would like to get somebody like Jaydev Unadkat,” he said.