The Chennai Super Kings has been one of the most successful teams in the history of IPL. Under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, CSK has won the titles 3 IPL titles along with 2 Champions league titles as well. They have been the most consistent team which has qualified in every season so far.
This year however, there is a little hiccup with Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh pulling out of IPL due to personal reasons. This will be a big blow to the franchise and will particularly miss the presence of Suresh Raina who has been such a key pillar at number 3 for CSK.
Dhoni, having retired from International cricket will look to come into this IPL with a clear mind and will hope to lift the IPL trophy another time.
Dhoni has been the biggest strength for this franchise right from day one. While some teams might be dominated by owners or management, some by coaches, this has clearly been Dhoni’s team which has worked. Stephen Fleming has been the perfect coil for MS Dhoni and this Captain-Coach partnership has worked very well.
This is franchise over the years have maintained the same core which has helped them bond well and the biggest difference is that they are prepared to trust and persist with players they pick. This is the reason why many players perform much better at CSK.
They have an all-round squad which covers most bases. They also have plenty of spin options which would work in their favor at UAE.
Suresh Raina missing at number 3 will definitely be a big loss for the team.
The age factor could also come in at some point in extremely hot weather conditions which could make them injury prone as well.
With Raina missing out at number three, they will look for Ambati Rayudu to take up that role. They could also look at someone like Murali Vijay or Ruturaj Gaikwad to bat in the top 3. Faf Du Plessis should open the batting if he plays since he is more comfortable against the new ball along with Shane Watson. They have good back up options as well in Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Santner who could all come in and play an important role at some point in the tournament. They could play one of Lungi Ngidi or Imran Tahir depending on the conditions.
CSK Probable XI to start the tournament : 1) Shane Watson, 2) Faf Du Plessis, 3) Ambati Rayudu, 4) Kedar Jadhav, 5) MS Dhoni (c)(wk), 6) Dwayne Bravo, 7) Ravindra Jadeja, 8) Deepak Chahar, 9) Piyush Chawla, 10) Lungi Ngidi, 11) Shardul Thakur
CSK might still have enough left in them to go all the way one more time. The pitches at UAE are also expected to assist spin bowling which will play in their favor.