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IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings (CSK) aim to make T20 league return memorable

Chennai Super Kings played their cards well in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 auction, as they focused on retaining their top stars and then built a side around it, picking several all-rounders.

cricket Updated: Mar 28, 2018 14:34 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian Premier League,IPL 2018,Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings would hope to be back in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 with a bang.(HT Photo)

After being out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the 2016, 2017 editions due to the spot-fixing scandal, Chennai Super Kings, the two-time champions, are back in the mix. They have got their core group back as they retained MS Dhoni, handing him the captaincy, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja while getting back all-rounder Dwayne Bravo using the Right To Match card in the auction.

CSK also retained another batsman Faf du Plessis through the RTM card. CSK did let go one of their key players Ravichandran Ashwin but got back another local favourite in Murali Vijay who played a big part in their two title runs.

Chennai Super Kings played their cards well in the auction, as they focused on retaining their top stars and then built a side around it, picking several all-rounders. The batting line-up is impressive with the presence of Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Faf du Plessis and an accomplished finisher in Dhoni.

The experience of Shane Watson will come handy although they lack depth in the pace attack. It will be an opportunity for the likes of promising South African pacer Lungi Ngidi, who was picked at his base price of Rs 50 lakh, and England pacer Mark Wood to step up and deliver.

In the spin bowling department, they have experience, variety, and guile with leg spinner Imran Tahir and veteran Harbhajan Singh in the ranks. Dhoni, who has become synonymous with CSK, will be eager to prove himself after being dropped from captaincy last season at Pune Rising Supergiant. He was replaced by Steve Smith as the leader of the side. CSK will also rely on tried and tested support staff -Stephen Fleming (head coach) and Michael Hussey (batting coach), to deliver the goods.

The yellow brigade commands a robust fan base and they were missed in the IPL for two seasons. Their presence will add to the excitement this season.

Complete squad

MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo. Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Faf Du Plessis, Mark Wood, Sam Billings, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Lungisani Ngidi, Asif KM, N Jagadeesan, Kanishk Seth, Monu Singh, Dhruv Shorey, Kshitiz Sharma, Chaitanya Bishnoi

* Mitchell Santner will miss the IPL due to knee surgery and the team has not named a replacement yet.

Support staff

Stephen Fleming (Head coach), Michael Hussey (Batting coach), Laxmipathy Balaji (bowling coach), Eric Simones (Bowling consultant), Tommy Simsek (physiotherapist), Gregory King (trainer), Lakshmi Narayanan (Performance analyst), Sanjay Natarajan (logistics manager), Russell Radhakrishnan (Team manager), Dr Madhu Thottappillil (Team Doctor)

Indian players to watch out for

MS Dhoni: His wicket-keeping skills, death-overs batting and astute captaincy, even at the age of 36 make him a valuable asset. Dhoni’s captaincy and his unearthing of several Indian talents is what sets him apart from skippers in other teams.

Suresh Raina: The left-hander, with 3699 runs at an average of 34.25 and strike-rate of 139.79, is the leading run-getter for the team. His aggression will be vital if Chennai Super Kings are to eye a big score.

Harbhajan Singh: For Mumbai Indians, the Punjab offspinner was their go-to bowler in the powerplay overs. His economy rate of 6.95 is testament to his ability to choke the runs. With the first six overs belonging to the batsmen, Harbhajan’s accuracy and control will be an asset for the side.

Kedar Jadhav: For CSK, Jadhav the bowler could be more useful than Jadhav, the batsman. His ability to break partnerships is a factor Dhoni is well aware of. As a batsman, coming in at No.5 or No.7 and having Dhoni at the other end could give the team an ideal finishing touch.

Ravindra Jadeja: The Saurashtra all-rounder is currently not part of the limited-overs set-up. However, Jadeja enjoyed his best years under Dhoni, with both bat and ball and he will be aiming to make an impact.

International stars to watch out for

Dwayne Bravo

The team’s ‘Champion’. With the ball, the West Indies all-rounder is capable of providing regular breakthroughs. With the bat, he can chip in with vital contributions. Bravo’s Calypso flair also makes him a fan favourite, which is why CSK decided to use the Right to Match card to retain him.

Mark Wood

The England pacer’s career has suffered plenty of injury setbacks. However, when fit, Wood is capable of nailing yorkers in the death overs. In one ODI against South Africa in 2017, the England pacer defended seven off the last over in Leeds to give his team an improbable win. Wood’s death-overs skill will be a key asset for Dhoni.

Faf du Plessis

Technically astute and with solid batting credentials, South Africa’s skipper will serve as an able deputy to Dhoni. Faf du Plessis’ sheet-anchor role in the middle order will be vital to keep the team’s batting order stable.

Shane Watson

The Australian all-rounder was an integral part of Rajasthan Royals. With 2372 runs at an average of 36 and 61 wickets for the franchise, Wastson’s utility is remarkable. With CSK looking for aggressive openers, the right-hander fits the role. Watson will arrive fresh from a good showing with Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League.

Imran Tahir

The 38-year-old South African leg spinner starred for Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017 with 18 wickets in 12 games. With his ability to choke the flow of runs towards the end and his wicket-taking abilities, Tahir can be a vital cog in CSK’s bowling line-up on any surface.

PAST RECORD

2008: Runners-up

2009: Semi-final

2010: Champions

2011: Champions

2012: Runners-up

2013: Runners-up

2014: Qualifier 2

2015: Runners-up

2016: Banned

2017: Banned

First Published: Mar 28, 2018 14:34 IST