In what comes as a significant blow to Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the defending champions have taken yet another hit as their star fast bowler, Matheesha Pathirana, is set to miss a crucial part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season due to a hamstring injury. The Sri Lankan speedster, known for his distinctive bowling action and impressive performances, sustained the injury during a T20I series against Bangladesh, placing him on the sidelines for an estimated four to five weeks.

We have to talk to SLC to know when he will be available. He is one of our premier bowlers, but these things happen

CSK source talking to the Times of India

A big impact for CSK

Pathirana’s absence is poised to create a considerable void in the CSK bowling line-up as they head into the opening game against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru. Having emerged as a pivotal figure in CSK’s title-winning run in the IPL 2023 season with a haul of 19 wickets at an economic rate of 8.01, his departure will be sorely felt. CSK’s captain, MS Dhoni, had previously lauded Pathirana’s effective variations and consistency, marking him as a ‘special’ talent within the squad.

We are talking about the pace that he bowls, the variations he has and the consistency he has got. All of it makes him special. What is important is to keep an eye on how much cricket he is playing.

MS Dhoni on Pathirana, 2023

With the unfortunate news of Pathirana’s injury, the team management is in discussions with the Sri Lanka Cricket Board to ascertain the young bowler’s availability for the latter stages of the tournament. As the team braces for his absence in the first leg of IPL 2024, CSK will have to adapt their strategies, missing a player who had become a go-to option for Dhoni in crucial situations.

Injury woes

Compounding the team’s troubles, CSK opener Devon Conway is also side-lined due to a finger injury, further challenging the depth of the squad as they seek to mount a successful defence of their title.

Tactical adjustments are on the horizon for CSK, with Bangladeshi fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman expected to step up, especially on the slow pitch at Chepauk, renowned for his slicing deliveries. Rahman’s experience will be critical in offsetting the loss of Pathirana’s distinctive bowling style.

The twin injuries to key players mean that CSK will have to navigate the earlier phase of IPL 2024 with a reshuffled pack, leaning on their squad’s resilience and the strategic acumen of their veteran skipper Dhoni. Fans and the team administration will be hoping that their recuperating stars can make a swift and healthy return to the field to bolster the team’s quest for consecutive IPL glories.

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