Suresh Raina has not been at his best in IPL 2021. | Photo - IPL | Photograph:( Others )
Former South Africa pacer Shaun Pollock has named a senior batsman who can replace out-of-form Suresh Raina in CSK's playing XI in the ongoing IPL 2021.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) might have qualified for the playoffs with a stellar show in the UAE leg of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. However, their middle-order remains a huge concern ahead of the playoffs. Suresh Raina has struggled to score runs consistently in the middle and has been far from his best so far this season.
Raina, who is CSK's leading run-getter of all time in the IPL, has so far managed to score only 160 runs in eleven innings this season. With captain MS Dhoni also struggling in the middle-order, Raina's rough patch can prove to be costly for CSK in the knockout stages of the tournament.
Pollock believes senior batsman Robin Uthappa can be an ideal replacement for Raina if CSK wants to drop the veteran left-hander. Uthappa, who was roped in from Rajasthan Royals ahead of the start of IPL 2021, is yet to make his debut for CSK.
Uthappa was bought as a backup opener but Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis' brilliant form means he has been left to warm the bench. Pollock wondered if Uthappa can be given a go by CSK, who don't like to make too many changes in the playing XI throughout the tournament.
"I wonder if they will give Robin Uthappa a chance. CSK are a team that doesn't like to make big changes. The longer it goes on, the more you feel they can't actually make a change for the knockouts unless they make it sooner or later. I'm sure he will be keen to have a go. But if they keep winning, they will want everyone firing," Pollock said on Cricbuzz.
Pollock also reckoned that Raina, who has been one of the best fielders in the world over the past few years, hasn't looked at his best on the field and might be carrying a niggle.
"He hasn't been able to find his touch. He looks like he might be carrying a bit of a niggle, he doesn't look that pacey, that's what we are so used to: brilliant fielding over the years, contributing with his off-spin and smashing the ball out of the ground; we haven't seen that. No surprise that they promoted him to No.3; that was in a bid to get him some form under the belt," Pollock added.