At a time when teams like Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders are investing their blood and sweat to sneak into the playoffs, Chennai Super Kings have the liberty to try some new talent.
Having won 7 of their 10 games, CSK are at the second spot in the points table and just one win away from making it to the knockout stage. For that, all they require is 1 win from their next 4 games and given their run of form, it should pretty much be a walk in the park.
In the last game as well, Dhoni looked to try out his bench strength in the league matches as he slotted Dhruv Shorey in the middle order. This is sign enough that Dhoni and the CSK team management may look to try some more of the players in the coming 4 games.
Here are 3 CSK players who can be given a game before the Playoffs:
When CSK picked Murali Vijay in the auctions, it was a sort of homecoming for him. It was in CSK that Vijay had made his name as an opener. He is also one of the few batsmen to score two centuries in the IPL.
Coming in to the team, Vijay was not 100% fit to begin with. As a result, Ambati Rayudu was drafted in the team and played at the top of the order. Rayudu grabbed the opportunity with both hands and scored heaps of runs.
This meant that even after Vijay became fit, he had to wait for his turn. The turn did come against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali but he failed to cash in, managing only 12 runs. He was dropped after that match and is awaiting an opportunity since.
English batsman Sam Billings is a useful bloke to have in the team. He is a live wire in the field and keeps the spirit of the boys afloat. Moreover, he can bat both at the top and in the middle order which gives him an added advantage.
Billings also won CSK a match with the bat. He scored an explosive half century against KKR to lead Chennai to a five wicket victory. However, after a few failures he was dropped and South African batsman Faf du Plessis took his place.
The problem with Faf is that he can only bat at the top of the order and does not boast of an impressive strike rate. Billings can be played ahead of du Plessis as he provides flexibility to the batting order.
KM Asif is another CSK player who looks very promising. Belonging to Kerala, Asif has raw pace which is good enough to intimidate batsmen. He was given a nod after Deepak Chahar injured his hamstring.
Although he went for runs in the first match, he picked up two crucial wickets. In the very next match, he improved his economy rate considerably. In the absence of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Tahkur leaking ruins in the death overs, Asif would be a good bet going forward.