Chennai Super Kings franchise is returning to the IPL after two years suspension. CSK is the only team to win two IPL titles back to back (2010, 2011). Chennai Super Kings franchise is also one of the most successful teams of IPL as it has been the finalist in 6 IPL season out of 8 IPL they played in.
In this IPL auction, Chennai Super Kings retained their core and stuck with their old and reliable players. First CSK retained three players of the team and then used RTM for another two. CSK stuck with its old captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and team head coach Steven Fleming. Although CSK let its very reliable spinner R. Ashwin go by not using RTM for him.
Let’s take a look what CSK bought for this IPL season from the auction and what are its strengths and limitations.
The Retained Players:
As every franchise team of the IPL was allowed to retain its maximum three existing players in the team. So CSK retained their most reliable three players captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Batsmen Suresh Raina and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
All these three players have been the core structure of CSK for a long time. CSK retained these players wisely, especially keeping Dhoni-Raina combination in the team that has been the main asset of the franchise in all 8 IPL tournaments.
RTM Card Use:
CSK used its first RTM to call Faf du Plessis back in the squad. He has been a good player for CSK in the middle order as well as in the opening. The second RTM card is used by CSK for DJ Bravo. Bravo is one of the most successful players in the IPL tournament and the all-rounder brings a spark in the team with his presence. It’s a big decision to not using RTM for R Ashwin who also has been a core member of the team.
The Smart Buys:
Lungi Ngidi is a very smart pick by Chennai Super Kings as they only spent ₹ 50 lakhs for him and got a genuine pacer in the team. CSK used to pick genuine fast bowler earlier as well such as Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger. So the franchise stuck with this plan this year as well.
Deepak Chahar (₹ 80 lakhs) is also a very smart buy by CSK. He has been doing an exceptional job for Rajasthan in domestic cricket.
CSK also picked Harbhajan Singh and Karan Sharma and made their spin department experienced as well as dynamic.
The main advantage for CSK is that they retained their core of the team and also got their captain back in the house. The spin bowling department is looking very good with the presence of veteran Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir even they lost R Ashwin. The all-rounder department is also pretty much stronger by having Shane Watson, DJ Bravo, Kedar Jadhav and Ravindra Jadeja in the squad.
Murli Vijay has been always wonderful for CSK at the top of the batting and Suresh Raina at number three. Their skipper M S Dhoni is one of the world’s best finisher in limited overs cricket. The English wicket-keeper Batsman Sam Billings is also looking an asset to the team.
The Mumbai Indians trio Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu and Karan Sharma will definitely bring the spark in the team as they used to play together for a long time on the champion side.
The spin department is very balanced for CSK but fast bowling department looks a bit weak. However, they picked Ngidi, but he is young and doesn’t have any experience playing in India. They don’t have any strong international or known genuine fast bowler whom you can look for wickets in difficult conditions. CSK should have gone for a regular Pacer.
The opening combination is also not looking pretty good. However, Murli Vijay used to open for CSK but apart from him, no good regular opening batsman is there in the squad. CSK could use RTM for Brandon McCullum but it does not use. It’s going to be very interesting to see that how they will use their line-up in the opening, according to a CSK trend.