Chennai Super Kings-The most touted team this IPL. The return of the Chennai Lions led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni to their den after a gap of 2 years easily makes them the hottest team this year. Especially with the return of the most successful Indian captain to the helm after quitting international captaincy more than a year ago makes them all the more dangerous.
So what is the one thing the CSK thinktank kept in mind at the auctions this year? It was getting back their core team as much as possible which took them to IPL glory on 2 occasions and to the finals on 4 others out of the 8 IPLs they featured in,by far the most successful team on that front. With the likes of Raina,Jadeja,Bravo,Du Plessis,Vijay and of course MSD back in their ranks,they fairly succeeded in doing so except getting back Ashwin.
Now to the probable XI. The opening slots will probably be occupied by Faf Du Plessis and Shane Watson. The South African limited overs captain has done it in the past for CSK and is a natural stroke player. With Watson with him,he will have a partner who can explode in the Powerplay. Murali Vijay can also be sneaked in occasionally. At number 3 it’s got to be Suresh Raina who has been the most prolific run scorer in the history of IPL. Ambati Rayudu makes a solid number 4. At number 5 M.S. Dhoni will be a good choice as he would get more time to settle up the order. Number 6 got to be the Golden Arm Kedar Jadhav.
Coming to the all-rounders at 7 they have got the Champion all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. Then at 8 there is “Sir” Ravindra Jadeja. At number 9 there are 2 quality spinners in Karn Sharma and the Turbanator but they would probably go for the former given his batting abilities displayed last season for the Mumbai Indians.
Now to the fast bowlers. This is the only area with a bit of concern from the Indian capped perspective as they have only got Shardul Thakur among recognised Indian Internationals. Deepak Chahar is also a good young talent but he is still to be tested against the best. Finally the foreign fast bowler and it will be a toss up between the Englishman Mark Wood and the South African young sensation Lungi Ngidi. But going by T20 record probably Wood will be the 1st choice.
Also they will be missing the services of the New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner who is out with a knee injury for 6 to 9 months. But they have the wily old Imran Tahir in their ranks who could be equally good and given a go as well as and when team combination fits. Also England’s Sam Billings can fit in the role of a good wicketkeeper batsman if required.
So this is the final probable XI:
Key Players-Suresh Raina,M.S. Dhoni,Ravindra Jadeja
Young players to watch out for-Dhruv Shorey,the promising Delhi batsman;N. Jagadeesan,the dashing Tamil Nadu wicketkeeper-batsman;K.M. Asif,the promising Kerala fast bowler;young left-armer Kanishk Seth from Bengal and the speedster from Jharkhand Monu Kumar.
All in all,a good combination of talent and experience and definitely one of the contenders to win this year’s Vivo IPL.