Chennai Super Kings aim to maintain their winning touch as a new era dons post the IPL 2014 auction. Nishad Pai Vaidya analyses Chennai’s new squad.
Chennai Super Kings have been the most successful side in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and they are poised to maintain that success. They have managed to get back most of their players and form a strong opposition this year. Surely, they are title contenders. Let us now look at their squad this year and compare that to their roster from the previous year:
Previous year’s squad: MS Dhoni (c), Michael Hussey, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Subramaniam Badrinath, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Chris Morris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Dirk Nannes, Albie Morkel, Ben Laughlin, Shadab Jakati, Ankit Rajpoot, Wriddhiman Saha, Ronit More, Vijay Shankar, Imtiaz Ahmed, R Karthikeyan, Jason Holder, Srikkanth Anirudha, Akila Dananjaya, Baba Aparajith.
Previous year’s strategy: Having maintained a core group in the first six seasons, Chennai were a very well set unit and had set strategies in place. The main thing was that they had replacements for each player. Thus, if a player left early or was injured, another one came in and seamlessly fit into the league. For example, if Michael Hussey was rested, then Faf du Plessis came out and did the job. In Chennai, their hometown, they backed Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin to bowl them into the game. On the other hand, Murali Vijay and Hussey were the main men at the top and absorbed the pressure. Suresh Raina also formed a vital cog with MS Dhoni absorbing the pressure lower down the order.
This year’s squad: MS Dhoni (c and wk), Faf du Plessis, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Baba Aparajith, Mohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra, John Hastings, Dwayne Smith, Vijay Shankar, Matt Henry, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ronit More, Ishwar Pandey.
Player’s retained: MS Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Baba Parajith, Mohit Sharma, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ronit More, Vijay Shankar.
This year’s strategy: One can see that Chennai have managed to get back 11 from their previous year’s squad. While they retained five at the outset, they managed to get the rest in the auction. Again, the strategy is the same as they have good back-ups for each player in this squad. They may not have picked Subramaniam Badrinath this year, but have an able replacement in Mithun Manhas. The strategy seems to be the same, wherein they will back their domestic talents to rise to the occasion. They may have lost Hussey, but now they have du Plessis and Brendon McCullum to open the batting. Ashwin and Jadeja continue to form a core in the middle and will be crucial on the tracks in Chennai. Thus, the overall balance of the side remains good. If there was a problem, it was their fast bowling last year and this time they have done well to pick numerous options in Ishwar Pandey, Matt Henry and Ashish Nehra. In Dwayne Smith and John Hastings, they have a good back-up to Dwayne Bravo.
Surprise Pick: Matt Henry — The New Zealand seamer impressed during his One-Day International (ODI) debut recently and has reaped rewards for it. However, one feels they may have preferred Mitchell McClenaghan or Adam Milne to him.
Dark Horse: Ashish Nehra — Contrary to what perceptions may say, Nehra has been a good one-day bowler and has a record to back it. It is just that two last-over finished that didn’t go his way that he has been maligned by the larger fan base. However, he has been a successful bowler at the death many times and could be a valuable option for Chennai.
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