CricketIPL 2021

CSK IPL 2020 : Can Dad’s Army defy the odds?

By Aayush Kumar

Since the inception of the IPL, Chennai Super Kings have been a prominent force in every edition the franchise has featured in. CSK has an impressive win percentage of 61.28, which is highest among all the IPL franchises. They have made it to the play-offs of each of the 10 tournaments they have been part of, having won 3 and finished as runners-up on 5 occasions. The biggest reasons attributed to the franchise’s tremendous consistency would be the astute leadership of MS Dhoni and the decision making of their owners. CSK was the first franchise to understand the importance of retaining their core, a strategy which worked well for them.

CSK were called Dad’s Army in 2018 due to their core comprising of players aged above 30 and not many gave them a chance to succeed. But the MS Dhoni-led team were consistent as ever. They won the 2018 edition and reached the final of the next season. The three-times champions will be going into the 2020 edition of the IPL trying to lift the title for the 4th time.CSK

The full squad of Chennai Super Kings is as follows:

MS Dhoni(C), Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Narayan Jagdeesan, Karn Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Monu Kumar, Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Suresh Raina*, Sam Curran, Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood, R Sai Kishore.

 

Season 2020

Like always, the franchise retained the core group of players while making a few changes. Sam Billings, David Willey, Mohit Sharma, Dhruv Shorey and Chaitanya Bishnoi were released. Sam Curran, Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood and R Sai Kishore were the new players signed by the franchise.

Batting is an area of concern for CSK. In the previous edition, apart from MS Dhoni and Faf Du Plessis, none of their batsmen had a great outing overall. Shane Watson & Ambati Rayudu who were the stars of CSK’s 2018 triumphant campaign, saw a dip in performance with both of them averaging under 25 and the strike rates of both were 127 and 93 respectively. Kedar Jadhav also had another poor season in the IPL. He accumulated just 162 runs @18 with a strike rate of 95.85. Murali Vijay is another veteran batsman part of the team. He played just 3 games in the last 2 seasons. An upsetting sign for CSK is that their veterans have now grown 18 months older which means there’s a high likelihood of their batting skills getting deteriorated. Rayudu, Jadhav and Vijay played Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last year and they performed below par, which adds to the worries of batting problems for the franchise. Suresh Raina, the biggest superstar of the franchise after captain cool MS Dhoni, has returned to India and uncertainty lies over his participation in the league.

CSK
CSK Captain MS Dhoni with coach Stpehen Fleming

However, in between the ageing veterans, there’s a talented youngster in form of Ruturaj Gaikwad, who would be looking to make an impression. Gaikwad, who warmed the bench for a whole season in 2019 has developed into an extraordinary performer in white-ball cricket at the domestic level.  He has smashed 843 runs in 15 innings for India A in the 50 over format, at a strike rate of 105, and also struck 419 runs in 11 innings in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, at a strike rate of 146.50.

While batting was under par in 2019, it was CSK’s bowling which ensured the franchise had another good season. Deepak Chahar consistently provided them with early breakthroughs while the spin trio of Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja choked the flow of runs and also picked important wickets at critical situations. Imran Tahir bagged the purple cap with 26 wickets while Deepak Chahar was the third-highest wicket-taker with 22 scalps to his name.

The pace bowling attack will be strengthened by the return of Lungi Ngidi. The South African didn’t feature in the previous edition due to injury. Lungi Ngidi can share the new ball with Chahar and assist Dwayne Bravo in the death overs. There’s also Shardul Thakur, the knuckleball specialist who has a reasonable record in the IPL. The team can also go for Sam Curran and Josh Hazlewood as alternates.

Harbhajan Singh has opted out of the league due to personal reasons. Still, CSK has enough quality in the spin department which has the capacity to restrict the opponents to a below-par score. To accompany Imran Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja, they have added seasoned campaigner Piyush Chawla and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy highest wicket-taker R Sai Kishore. Kiwi Mitchell Santner & Karn Sharma, another veteran in the Dad’s Army, can also be introduced at some point in the tournament.

Probable XI: 1. Shane Watson 2. Faf Du Plessis 3. Ambati Rayudu 4. Kedar Jadhav 5. MS Dhoni (c & wk) 6. Ravindra Jadeja 7. Dwayne Bravo 8. Shardul Thakur 9. Deepak Chahar 10. Piyush Chawla 11. Imran Tahir

Author’s take: With most of the core players either retired or past their prime and not many promising youngsters in the squad who can be counted as good replacements, the most consistent franchise in the league may miss out on a top-four spot for the first time in its history.

 

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2 Comments

  1. It will be tough for CSK without Raina. Jadeja will have to step up for CSK, especially in bowling if CSK have to do well. Tahir will be another key player for them

    Slow low pitches will suit the spinners and with scores likely to be in 150-160 range, players like Dhoni & Jadhav will have a important role in batting

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