Chennai Super Kings may have a team which is a mirror image of the previous CSK team. Other than Dwayne Bravo, CSK had a complete Indian bowling line-up comprising of Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Pawan Negi, Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma and Ashish Nehra. They have lost them all but Jadeja. They now have a strong Indian batting unit. They don’t have any quality Indian pacer except Shardul Thakur. Their bowling looks lopsided. They have a strong spin department comprising of Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner and Deepak Chahar.
They have assembled a strong batting line-up. Thus they might fill their overseas players in bowling and all-around department.
Overseas Players: Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis will certainly play but I’m not sure about Shane Watson. As earlier mentioned, CSK needs good pacers. Watson delivered poorly for RCB last year as a bowler and CSK already has a strong batting unit. Mark Wood has also been expensive in the recent Trans-Tasman tri-series. Lungi Ngidi’s performance has been promising. Imran Tahir enjoys the No. 1 spot in the ODI while Mitchell Santner is No. 1 in T20I, so these two will be a tempting option.
Openers: Faf du Plessis for sure. Murali Vijay over Sam Billings and Shane Watson if Imran Tahir plays. Though Watson has been hard-hitting as a batsman but expensive with the ball in BBL. He is one of the best allrounder IPL has got. He should be used as an opener which brought him a lot of success. He is in good form in big bash, PSL. He is a wicket-taking bowler
Middle Order: Suresh Raina at no. 3. M.S. Dhoni (wk) has been struggling to make quick runs at the lower order as he needs a dozen of deliveries to get in his groove. I hope MSD promotes himself in the batting line-up. Kedar Jadhav at no. 5, Dwayne Bravo at no. 6, and Ravindra Jadeja at no. 7. With Ashwin and Nehra went, Jadeja and Bravo would have to lead their respective bowling department.
Spinner: Karn Sharma over Bhajji as he has outperformed Bhajji in the previous IPL, has delivered good spells in domestic and India-A series’ and you don’t want an Rs. 5 Crore bench-warmer. Tahir above Santner as he has more experience and is a proven player. A reliable off-spinner who can stop run flow and can pick wickets. He is an excellent bowler against lefties. His slogging is also reliable and can be used as the pinch hitter.
Pacers: Shardul Thakur for sure. Lungi Ngidi over Mark Wood as discussed earlier. Shane Watson may not bowl his 4 overs but would be handy.
Uncapped Players: Deepak Chahar is has bowled good spells in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. He would be chosen over Bhajji and Tahir to fill the overseas quota. CSK can also compensate from the deep batting line-up instead. Dhruv Shorey is also a handy batsman.
Expected Playing XI:
- Faf du Plessis ✝
- Shane Watson ✝
- Suresh Raina
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c) (wk)
- Kedar Jadhav
- Dwayne Bravo ✝
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Karn Sharma
- Rahul Chahar
- Shardul Thakur
- Lungisani Ngidi ✝
The Chennai Super Kings have brought back many fan favorites in their first season back in the IPL. With a solid batting line up, they should do well, and they also have a good spin attack. However, their pace bowling options are a little thin, and it will be interesting to see how they combat that. They have the potential to compete, but the likelihood is that they will fall just short and finish mid-table.