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Feature

Can Super Kings fill their Bravo-sized hole with Curran?

They have also lost the experience of Robin Uthappa in the middle, and Mayank Agarwal could be the answer there

Who they've got
Super Kings finished ninth in the ten-team tournament in 2022 but - true to reputation - have retained most of their players. Dwayne Bravo is the biggest name they let go of - he will be their bowling coach instead. They have retained their star allrounder Ravindra Jadeja despite rumours suggesting the marriage might be over. MS Dhoni, at 41, still remains captain but they will be keen to identify and groom someone to take over after the 2023 edition.
Current squad: MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Simarjeet Singh, Deepak Chahar, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana
What they have to play with
Super Kings have INR 20.45 crore (USD 2.4 million approx.) to spend at the auction. They have seven slots available, including two for overseas players.
What they need
  • Two Indian batters, of which one should ideally be a back-up wicketkeeper to Dhoni.
  • It won't be bad for them if they can get hold of a strong overseas quick as well as an Indian quick, because that department looks a little thin despite Mukesh Choudhary's success last season.
  • And while they are at it, why not an Indian wristspinner too?
  • The likely targets
    Sam Curran isn't new to Super Kings' set-up, having worn the yellow jersey in 2020 and 2021 for 23 matches. With Dwayne Bravo not around anymore, Curran could be the overseas quick who can bowl at the death and also chip in with the bat lower down the order. He was picked by Super Kings for INR 5.5 crore in 2020.
    Mayank Agarwal is another obvious target, like Curran. Though primarily a top-order batter, Agarwal dropped to the middle order last year to accommodate better strikers at the top. With Robin Uthappa, one of Super Kings' main Indian middle-order batters last season, retiring Agarwal could be a great fit.
    Josh Little made a big impact in the T20 World Cup in Australia this year, picking up 11 wickets in seven matches at a great economy of 7.00 for Ireland. That included a hat-trick [Kane Williamson, James Neesham and Mitchell Santner] against New Zealand.
    Jaydev Unadkat could be a contender for a team that likes experienced hands, and Unadkat has worked with Dhoni and Stephen Fleming at Rising Pune Supergiants in IPL 2017. He had a memorable season then, claiming 24 wickets in 12 matches.

    Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo