Chennai Super Kings’s think tank has put up a good enough squad together for the IPL 2018, finding the correct mix between experience and the exuberance of youth, and getting 7 overseas players in a squad that consists of 25 players(22 bought at the auction, 3 retained).
The Day 1 of the auction was a little baffling for CSK fans, as the team management opted for a lot of player aged above 30.
But today, CSK was all about being shrewd with their buys, getting in quality players for less amount of money, and ticking off all boxes needed to form a balanced IPL squad.
Here is the full CSK squad:
Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Billings, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Shardul Thakur, Jagadeesan Narayan, Karn Sharma, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Asif K M, Lungisani Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Mark Wood, Kanishk Seth, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Singh, Chaitanya Bishnoi.
Let’s delve into analysing CSK’s probable XI for IPL 2018:
Murali Vijay was bought back by CSK for a price for Rs 2 crore. Vijay has been a very successful opener for CSK in the past and could continue his stint as a opener.
Shane Watson would partner Vijay at the top of the order. He has successfully opened for RR in the past and also for his BBL franchises. Also, Watson will be able to deliver during the death overs, using his cutters and yorkers to good effect.
Middle Order(Number 3 and 4)
Suresh Raina, CSK’s quintessential number 3, will slot into his normal role. He has been picked for India’s T20 side for the South Africa series and has had a fabulous Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Kedar Jadhav, India’s apparent answer to the number 4 position will slot into the number 4’s role for CSK as well. He has excelled for India batting lower down the order, but prefers to bat at number 4. Also, on a dusty Chepauk track, his round-arm off-spinners could be used to slow down the run-rate of the opposition.
MS Dhoni, the captain will slot into the Number 5 role. His IPL and international record speaks for itself. Also, he is being deployed in that number 5, number 6 role by Kohli in the T20’s and could do wonders for CSK in that role, if he can find his old attacking self.
Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo will do the job of all the all-rounders. Jadeja was retained by the CSK franchise whereas for Bravo, they used the RTM card.
Bravo would slot into that number 6 role, with Jaddu following him at 7. The duo can use the long handle to good effect and have done so in the past for CSK. Also, they will in all probability bowl their quota of 4 overs, with Bravo doing most of his bowling during the death overs and Jadeja plying his trade during the middle overs.
Imran Tahir would be the first pick, taking the ball away from the right handers and using his guile to great effect. He was also the world number one T20 bowler a year ago and is 7 in the ranking presently(and number 2 in ODI).
Shardul Thakur has broken into India’s limited overs side and is a very potent new ball and death bowler. He will be the domestic leader of the attack.
Now, CSK will play all the games at the Chepauk and hence Dhoni could be tempted in going with 3 spinners, and thus Bhajji could be drafted into the XI.
But apart from Chepauk, I think Dhoni will be content with 2 spinners and Jadhav as the back-up spinner. In this case, Deepak Chahar, the highest wicket taker in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy would be drafted in.
Mark Wood will in all probability lead the attack for CSK. He is a hit the deck bowler and his open-chested action will help him attract a lot of bounce. Wood has been very impressive for England in recently concluded ODI series against Australia. Ngidi could replace him, if Wood isn’t delivering as per CSK’s expectations!
Deepak Chahar/Harbhajan Singh
Mark Wood/Lungi Ngidi