With less than a month to go to the IPL, the anticipation is steadily towards the eleventh edition of India’s biggest cricket carnival.
This year will mark the return of Rajasthan Royals ans Chennai Super Kings, as the two former champions will come back after a two year hiatus.
CSK’s return has already generated a lot of buzz this year, as the Yellow Army will hope to relive their magic once again.
Here is the CSK squad:
MS Dhoni (retained 15 crore), Suresh Raina (retained, 11 c), Ravindra Jadeja (retained 7 c), Faf du Plessis (1.5 c), Harbhajan Singh (2 c), Dwayne Bravo (6.4 c), Shane Watson (4 c), Kedar Jadhav (7.8 c), Ambati Rayudu (2.2 c), Imran Tahir (1 c), Karn Sharma (5 c), Shardul Thakur (2.6 Cr), Jagadeesan Narayan (20L), Mitchell Santner (50L), Deepak Chahar (80L), KM Asif (40L), Lungi Ngidi (50 L), Kanishk Seth (20L), Dhruv Shorey (20L), Murali Vijay (2 c), Sam Billings (1 c), Mark Wood (1.5 c), Kshitiz Sharma (20L), Monu Kumar (20L), Chaitanya Bishnoi (20L)
CSK had an interesting auction, as the returning Chennai franchise were left with a squad that was not short in quality, but with many players over the age of 30.
Filled with ageing all-rounders, CSK needed to bring in many young players in order to balance their squad ahead of the IPL season. With Watson, Bravo and Jadhav in their squad, CSK were looking for bring in some good quality Indian batsmen and fast bowlers in the second day of the auction.
The Chennai franchise did well today, as they spent smartly and brought in good quality in the shape of Shardul Thakur, Sam Billings and Deepak Chahar.
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CSK also managed to nab South African sensation, Lungi Ngidi as the young pacer will play his maiden IPL season at the Chepauk.
The addition of Vijay was another great buy, as the old CSK player can provide a steady head at the top.
But it is Mitchell Santner who will be leading the CSK bowling lineup, as the Kiwi left armer is one of the most exciting bowlers in the world today.
Unfortunately for CSK fans, a victorious return in this year’s IPL looks extremely unlikely. The Chennai franchise are lacking the X-factor that made them special in the initial few years of the competition.
While in previous years they had the likes of Smith and McCullum at the top, Bollinger’s death bowling or Ashwin’s magical bowling in the middle, CSK lack that special factor this year.
Their over reliance on spin may also come back to haunt them, as will the number of players over the age of 30 in their squad.
While there is not doubt that these players still have the quality to play in the league, there are question marks over the fitness of these players over a long and grueling competition.
Ultimately though, CSK will rely on MS Dhoni’s brilliance as a skipper in this season’s IPL.