One of the most successful franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are returning back to the tournament after a 2-year ban.
CSK retained the trio of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja prior the mega-auction, and brought back Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis using their RTM cards, therefore, bringing their core team back.
Chennai also bought veteran Harbhajan Singh for Rs 2 crore in the auction, along with Kedar Jadhav, Karn Sharma and all-rounder Shane Watson. They also went with some interesting picks in Mark Wood, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner and Imran Tahir.
Here is the possible playing XI from the squad:
Faf Du Plessis
Faf was retained by CSK team using Right To Match Card. He is a valuable asset and can give a perfect start to the team, which he has done many times in the past. Faf has scored 1,295 runs in 53 matches at a strike rate of 127.96 including 8 half-centuries. He is also an excellent fielder.
Local boy Vijay returns to his home team after a stint with Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab. He has contributed to CSK in the past. Vijay had formed one of the most formidable opening partnerships with Michael Hussey for CSK earlier. He has scored 2,511 runs in 100 matches at a strike rate of 123.29 with 2 centuries and 13 half-centuries.
Suresh Raina (VC)
Also known as ‘chinna thala', Raina has also returned to CSK after a two-year stint with Gujarat Lions. Raina has been a part of CSK in all their matches. He is the top scorer in the whole of IPL. Raina has scored 4,540 runs in 161 matches with a strike rate of 139.09, including a century and 31 fifties. In addition to this, he is a handy spinner and a lively fielder. He is a perfect no.3.
Shane Watson / Sam Billings
CSK has a lot of big hitters in their team. Some of them are from foreign nations. And as only four international players can be included for a game, it'd be interesting to see who Dhoni picks for the first game.
I think he's going to go with Watson because of his fantastic hitting capabilities, and enormous IPL experience. If in case Watson goes absent due to injuries, then Billings can replace him. He's another fantastic T20 player.
MS Dhoni (C and WK)
'Thala' Dhoni is the most valuable player a team can ever have. He has excellent wicket-keeping and batting skills, and his captaincy skills are even more superior. He has been captaining this side from the beginning of the tournament. Dhoni is the most successful captain in the history of IPL. He has scored 3,561 runs in 159 matches at a strike rate of 136.75 including 17 fifties. He has taken 76 catches and has made 30 stumpings.
Ambati Rayudu is that decent middle-order batsmen that each team would dream of having. He is also a wicket-keeper. He has scored 2,416 runs in 114 matches at a strike-rate of 126.16, including 14 half-centuries. While keeping wickets for Mumbai Indians, he has taken 45 catches and has made 2 stumpings.
Jadeja is another player CSK has retained (Rs 7 crore). So it would again be a waste of money if CSK doesn't play Jadeja. I think he's also going to be there in most of the games. He can score the quickfire 30 or 40 runs and is a brilliant fielder. He is a genuine all-rounder.
Bravo has been the best all-rounder CSK has ever had. He is a death overs specialist and can also hit runs quickly at the lower middle order. Bravo has scored 1238 runs in 106 matches at a strike rate of 125.94 including 4 half-centuries. He has taken 122 wickets at an economy of 8.15. He has been the purple cap holder once.
A very experienced veteran off-spinner, Harbhajan can be a great asset to the team. He has taken 127 wickets in 136 matches at an economy of 6.95.
Thakur is an upcoming Indian pacer. He played for RPS in the last season. He has taken 12 wickets in 13 matches at an economy of 8.57.
Mark Wood is an English pacer. He is quite good in the T20 format, and this is his first IPL season.
There may be some changes in the squad. If Wood fails to perform well, then he may be replaced by Lungi Ngidi. Same is the case with Rayudu. Kedar Jadhav may replace him.