The 2024 IPL could be a defining one for defending champion Chennai Super Kings, as it could well be the last season for its talismanic captain, MS Dhoni.
Going into the player auction, the five-time champion needed to strengthen only a few areas, and the management can be pleased with how things turned out in Dubai on Tuesday.
A key area of focus was to find a replacement for the now-retired Ambati Rayudu, who made impactful performances in the last three title-winning campaigns (2018, 2021 & 2023).
ALSO READ | CSK squad IPL 2024: Chennai Super Kings full list of players after auction
On that front, the Super Kings scored a winner in all-rounder Daryl Mitchell and also snapped up a highly-rated 20-year-old uncapped player, Sameer Rizvi, by going full throttle for both of them.
The team made full use of its purse of Rs 31.40 crore to pursue all-rounder Mitchell and get him for Rs. 14 crore. Mitchell had a tremendous World Cup in India and could fill Rayudu’s shoes in the middle-order.
Meanwhile, Rizvi (Rs. 8.4 crore) scored 277 runs in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Uttar Pradesh at a strike rate of nearly 140 with 18 sixes. The hard-hitting youngster also had a sensational UP T20 league, and if he can find his feet at the IPL level, the Yellow Brigade might have found a star for the future.
These big buys were set up right at the start when the think-tank was able to strike bargain deals in scooping up New Zealand batting sensation Rachin Ravindra and Indian medium-pacer Shardul Thakur, who was with the outfit for four years, between 2018 and 2021. Thakur’s best years in the IPL have been while wearing the yellow jersey as a death-overs specialist and also adds depth to the batting line-up.
ALSO READ | CSK Probable Playing XI IPL 2024: Chennai Super Kings squad composition
Coach Stephen Fleming later said Mitchell was one of his side’s key targets.
“Daryl is a different type of player, but his performances over the last 18-24 months have warranted this price. He is an unfashionable player and often goes under the radar. With his ability to play spin, he is competitive and a handy bowler,” said Fleming.
Another target was an overseas pacer as a cover for Matheesha Pathirana, and the Chennai side managed to get a good option in 28-year-old Bangladeshi left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who comes in with a lot of experience.
With a winning core largely intact, CSK has come out of the auction stronger than before for its title defence campaign and probably for Dhoni’s swansong.