PREVIEW: On cricketbadger.com over the next few days we preview each of the IPL franchise – here’s our appraisal on the chances of Chennai Super Kings…
Chennai Super Kings are the most consistent team in IPL history having made the final on five of seven occasions and won it twice.
CSK have a win percentage of 60.96 after being successful in 69 of their 115 matches.
In MS Dhoni, they have Mr Reliable as their captain. He’s about to embark on his 8th season as the Super Kings skipper and holds the record for playing most IPL matches as captain – 112 games. Now he has retired from playing Test cricket he will be even more focussed on this year’s IPL.
Despite their consistency, CSK haven’t won the IPL since 2011, but if you are looking for a team to hang your hat on in IPL8 the Super Kings know how to win IPL matches. They won last season’s Champions League T20 and have retained their main men. It’s possibly the consistency of selection that has enabled them to be such a regular force – other IPL franchises take note.
Michael Hussey has rejoined CSk after being released the previous season. South African paceman Kyle Abbott also joins them, as do Irfan Pathan and Rahul Sharma.
GENERAL TITTLE TATTLE
CSK’s coach, Stephen Fleming, is hugely influential in their success and dovetails with Dhoni well.
THE KEY MAN – Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum is the man of the moment after leading his New Zealand team with astute captaincy and astonishing batting to the ICC World Cup final. It would be foolish of Dhoni to ignore the tactical know-how McCullum used to great effect at the World Cup.
The 33-year-old will be keen to maintain that personal momentum and make a huge impact on the IPL.
McCullum scored 328 runs in nine World Cup matches with four half-centuries at a strike-rate of 188.50.
ONE TO WATCH FOR – Andrew Tye
The Perth Scorchers’ bowler was taken by CSK after his 14 wickets in the last KFC T20 Big Bash League in Australia at an average of 18.35 apiece. If he gets the chance to make his IPL debut CSK know the 28-year-old right-arm seamer can do a job for them. He was crucial to the Scorchers’ lifting the BBL trophy for the second consecutive year.
BEST OF THE REST
Suresh Raina, just married, has been ever present in the CSK squad since its origin, uniquely playing every match the franchise has played in the IPL. He is in a hot streak of form and CSK will hope that lasts for the next few weeks at least.
He is the highest run-scorer in the history of the IPL with 3,325 runs at an average of 35.75 and an impressive strike-rate of 142.03. He’s never managed to outscore the rest in individual IPLs, but he is the only batsman to have scored 400 in every edition of IPL.
His 24 IP fifties and 134 sixes are also a tournament bests. He’s also an excellent fielder, taking the most (64) catches in the IPL.
MS Dhoni is the dictionary definition of leader. His trademark helicopter shot delights supporters and how many times has he come in with his team in trouble and stroked them across the winning line. He may be coming towards the end of a glittering career, but this IPL could be made for him.
R Ashwin has also been ever present in CSK’s squad since the IPL’s inception. His 80 wickets is the highest haul for CSK in the IPL.
Mohit Sharma has the best strike rate of 14.5 of any bowler to have thrown down at least 100 IPL overs. He won the Purple Cap last season and will be an important cog in CSK’s bowling again for IPL8.
FULL CSK SQUAD
MS Dhoni (capt, wk), Baba Aparajith, Ashish Nehra, Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum (wk), Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Smith, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Ishwar Pandey, Pawan Negi, Mohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Samuel Badree, Michael Hussey, Ronit More, Kyle Abbott, Rahul Sharma, Pratyush Singh, Irfan Pathan, Eklavya Dwivedi, Ankush Bains, Andrew Tye
You’d be a fool to write CSK off. They have the pedigree and the players to go all the way again this time. Will rightly start as one of the tournament favourites and it would be a huge surprise if they didn’t make the last four, at least.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
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