CHENNAI: Even before their much-anticipated IPL return, the Chennai Super Kings were struck a blow on Wednesday, with Mitchell Santner facing nearly nine months on the sidelines due to a bone defect in his right-knee, one that now requires surgery.
The Men in Yellow had roped in the New Zealand’s spin-bowling all-rounder for `50 lakh during the auctions for what would have been his debut season. Santner had displayed scintillating form with the bat during the Kiwis’ ODI series against England. The southpaw notched up 216 runs at an average of 108, including his first two half-tons in the format. With a strike-rate of 128.21 and a boundary percentage of 55.5 in T20s — not to mention an economy of 7.00 — Santner would very well have been a pivotal cog in IPL 11 for MS Dhoni & Co.
“That (Santner being ruled out of cricket) is the news which we have received at the moment. It now has to be conveyed to the IPL authorities in an official capacity so that they can ascertain that he won’t be available for this season. Only then will we be able to figure out about his replacement,” said Super Kings CEO Kasi Viswanathan. “Injuries aren’t in our control. We’ll have to find out from our captain and Stephen Fleming as to who they want in his place. It’ll be known in a couple of days.”
His purple patch with the willow notwithstanding, Santner had also been making headlines with the “claw”, his own take on Ravichandran Ashwin’s carrom ball. The left-arm tweaker had unveiled it during the fourth ODI of Pakistan’s tour of his nation in January. That series also saw Santner emerge as the most frugal among all bowlers (economy of 4.33), apart from him also chipping in with five dismissals.
Despite all these recent achievements, Viswanathan was of the opinion that the contingent was equipped adequately to account for Santner’s absence from it. “We may not be able to get a like-for-like replacement of a player of such calibre. But, we do have a good crop of spinners in Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma and Imran Tahir. Our spin department is covered, and so are our pace options.”