IPL 2022: Deepak Chahar injury leaves problem aplenty for Ravindra Jadeja-led Chennai Super Kings

Updated on Mar 25, 2022 12:25 PM IST

As Chennai Super Kings gear up for the 15th edition of the IPL, here is a SWOT analysis of the team...

Chennai Super Kings(Twitter/Chennai Super Kings)
Chennai Super Kings(Twitter/Chennai Super Kings)
ByAratrick Mondal

Have you ever heard a buzz around Chennai Super Kings (CSK), ahead of any Indian Premier League (IPL) auction? You seldom will. They are never the ones going after the top-rated T20 players, nor do they shell out big money at the auction to create headlines. They quietly go around their business and end up creating one of the most dominating sides each season. 2022 mega auction was no different. While most franchises had a major reshuffle, Chennai stuck to their winning template of buying back almost the same players that won them the trophy in 2021. Why would anyone change a formulae that helped them script such a sensational comeback?

However, three weeks ahead of the start of the season and their campaign opener against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), CSK suffered a huge blow as the defending champions lost their star bowler and mainstay option, Deepak Chahar, for a major part of the tournament. And this has certainly affected their plans, at least until the phase of the league structure. But is that Chennai's only concern?

As Chennai Super Kings gear up for the 15th edition of the IPL, here is a SWOT analysis of the team...

STRENGTH

Chennai Super Kings have a stunning batting depth that goes all the way down to No.11 in the line-up, just like in the 2021 season. And they also have a fair share of left and right-handed batters giving them the opportunity to frame their batting line-up accordingly and tackle match-ups. CSK also have a batting unit laced with good spin and pace hitters and a good amount of power hitters.

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On the bowling front, CSK have two express pace bowlers in Adam Milne and India's U-19 World Cup star Rajvardhan Hangargekar and two good middle-over spin options in Jadeja and Moeen Ali.

Not to forget, the four-time winners also have an impressive bench strength across departments.

WEAKNESSES

Could Conway be the new Faf?

One of the key reasons behind a good opening pair is the batters tend to complement each other. The famous Lynn-Narine pair that had done wonders for KKR stands as an epitome. For Chennai, it was Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad. And while Gaikwad stays, Faf has been replaced by Conway, but the New Zealand batter has huge shoes to fill.

In the last two IPL seasons, Faf scored at a strike rate of 136.4 (the fifth-best among openers) in the powerplay with a boundary every 5.6 balls. Conway, who will be playing his maiden IPL season, has a powerplay strike rate of only 122. He also has no experience playing T20Is in India.

Faf du Plessis with Ruturaj Gaikwad(iplt20.com)
Faf du Plessis with Ruturaj Gaikwad(iplt20.com)

Another advantage CSK had with Faf at the top was his strike rate against pacers in IPL - 153 with an average of 38. And, Conway and Gaikwad both struggle against pace as they have had an identical strike rate of 129 in T20s since 2020.

Besides, with Gaikwad's scoring rate against the new ball being exactly a run-a-ball in the last two seasons, CSK might tend to become slow starters leaving the middle-order with the bulk of the scoring.

ALSO READ: CSK IPL 2022 Schedule: Chennai Super Kings complete fixtures, match timings, venues and dates- All you need to know

No established leg-spinner, Chahar's injury

The only leg-spinner CSK have in their 25-member squad is 22-year-old uncapped Indian Prashant Solanki. He has so far played only one domestic T20 match, last November against Baroda, and played nine List A games picking 21 wickets at 23 with an economy rate of 5.96.

Chahar's injury and subsequent absence until mid-April will have a big impact on CSK. Since 2019, Chahar has picked 32 wickets in the powerplay, the next best being Trent Boult (21). In 46 matches, MS Dhoni has used him 35 times to bowl three overs in the powerplay - also the most for a bowler - which outlines the importance of Chahar in the CSK line-up.

Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar

OPPORTUNITIES

With Chahar missing out, one of CSK's options will be going with Hangargekar. His impressive seam-bowling prowess and hard-hitting abilities were on display during the U-19 World Cup. And while he did not earn a spot in the Maharashtra Ranji Trophy team, CSK managed to rope him in for INR 1.5 crore after a three-team bidding war.

It also opens up opportunities for the Indian pace-bowling bench strength in Mukesh Choudhary, Tushar Deshpande, Simarjeet Singh and KM Asif.

THREAT

The biggest concern for CSK will be Chahar's absence which will not just hurt their powerplay bowling but also make their pace attack less threatening and that would subsequently lead to a big playing XI dilemma.

If CSK replace Chahar with an Indian pace option in Tushar, Asif or Mukesh, it will reduce their quality of pace attack and make them over-reliant on Milne and Bravo.

If CSK opt for Chris Jordan, which will maintain their batting depth and strengthen their death bowling, they will have to use Robin Uthappa at the top of the order alongside Gaikwad instead of Conway.

Potential playing XI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Hangargekar, Adam Milne, Deshpande

or

Potential playing XI: Robin Uthappa, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Hangargekar, Adam Milne, Jordan

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