MS Dhoni continued the tradition of handing over new Chennai Super Kings jerseys to their new recruits. The likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Moeen Ali, Krishnappa Gowtham were seen at the ceremony getting their official kits from the skipper.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who returns to the Indian Premier League for the first time since 2014, took to social media to thank MS Dhoni and CSK as he was welcomed to the 3-time champions' set-up. CSK have camped in Mumbai where they will play their first 5 matches of IPL 2021 in strict bio-secure environments.
"Excited and honoured to receive the official kit from @msdhoni bhai and the @ChennaiIPL family! Looking forward to a great season ahead," Pujara said while sharing a photo from the ceremony. Head coach Stephen Fleming watched on as MS Dhoni handed the kits to their new recruits, including Robin Uthappa who was traded ahead of the auction from Rajasthan Royals.
After having endured their worst season in 2020 wherein they failed to make the play-offs for the first time in the history of the tournament, CSK were expected to make wholesale changes. However, they retained most of their players, including Suresh Raina who had pulled out of IPL 2020 due to personal reasons.
CSK bought as many as 6 players at IPL 2021 auction in February, spending big money on Moeen Ali and K Gowtham.
Players bought by CSK for IPL 2021: Moeen Ali (Rs 7 crore), K Gowtham (Rs 9.25 crore), Cheteshwar Pujara (Rs 50 lakh), Harishankar Reddy (Rs 20 lakh), Bhagath Varma (Rs 20 lakh), Hari Nishanth (Rs 20 lakh).
All eyes will be on Pujara as the senior batsman makes a comeback into the IPL for the first time since his stint with Punjab Kings in IPL 2014. As former India spinner Pragyan Ojha mentioned, Pujara might not get a game straightaway for CSK in IPL 2021 but his presence in the dressing room will be a big boost to CSK.
Pujara looked in good shape during the training sessions as he was spotted hitting big sixes against his CSK teammates. Despite the perception of being a Test specialist, Pujara averages close to 30 in T20s and strikes at 109.9. Only in 2019, Cheteshwar Pujara had scored his maiden T20 hundred for Saurashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy against Railways in Indore.
3rd ODI, Cape Town, 23 Jan 2022
2nd ODI, Doha, 23 Jan 2022
1st T20I (D/N), Bridgetown, 22 Jan 2022
2nd ODI, Paarl, 21 Jan 2022