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IPL 2018: A closer look at Chennai Super Kings probable XI
Lucknow: It is not just a comeback of Chennai Super Kings, it is the return of emotions which were somewhere and somehow linked with the side since its two-year suspension from the Indian Premier League.
‘CSK is my second home,’ the words of astute skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni have already upped the excitement level of the fans before the start of world’s biggest T20 extravaganza.
CSK solely eyed to bring back its core during the auctions and it succeeded too. R Ashwin was the only major miss while players like Doug Bollinger and Albie Morkel have retired.
As the side is gearing up for the cash-rich league, take a close look at the probable playing XI of Chennai Super Kings.
- Murali Vijay
Murali Vijay has remained a key CSK player for long and has scored runs for the side whenever got into existence. He missed IPL 2017 owing to injury but was brilliant with the bat in the 2016 edition of the tournament. He scored five fifties and captained Kings XI Punjab.
In his 100-match IPL career, the Tamil Nadu batsman has amassed 2511 runs, with two tons and 13 half-centuries to his name.
2. Shane Watson
Shane Watson may have not equalled IPL 2017 performance to his name but his recent form tells the opposite story. He has remained tremendous in Big Bash 2018 and ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL). He was the third highest run-getter in BBL 2018 with two fifties. His strike rate touched 140 mark.
Captain Dhoni will be a delighted man if Watson continues his brilliance both with bat and bowl in IPL 11.
- Suresh Raina
At a crucial phase in the cricketing career of Suresh Raina, he is undoubtedly a player to watch out for. With him being seated at the most vital number 3 batting position, CSK relies most on the Uttar Pradesh batsman. Raina is the highest run-getter in IPL with 4540 runs to his name and would look to continue his empire in the eleventh edition also.
4. Faf du Plessis
CSK brought the South African skipper using the Right to Match card. Be it for opening or middle-order, his presence has always strengthened the batting order. He can also act as opener if Vijay or Watson fails to deliver.
- MS Dhoni
The name is enough. With him captaining the side, the batting order of MSD has always depended on the situation of the match. Fans, however, would love to see more of MS Dhoni with him batting at no. 4 in the final phase of his career. In his final series (India versus New Zealand) as a captain, he had said that he wants to bat up in the batting order now but after Kohli’s enthronement as skipper, things faded away.
CSK would expect some hard hitting from the Mahi added with some magical hands behind the wicket.
- Kedar Jadhav
The lethal weapon of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is now in CSK’s den. With Dhoni’s hitting ability fading with time, Jadhav would be looked as a match-finisher by men in yellow. CSK brought him for a whopping Rs 7.8 crore. Mahi would not hesitate to use him as a part-timer.
- Ravindra Jadeja
Dhoni has already said that he wants to use Jadeja as a proper batsman which means there will be more of Jadeja as a batsman apart from his left-arm spin bowling. The league will also decide Jaddu’s fate in the blue jersey.
- Imran Tahir/Harbhajan Singh/Karn Sharma
With plenty of quality spinners in the side, CSK may opt rotation policy for this very slot. Imran Tahir is match-winner; he has the ability to turn-around the game in his team’s favour.
Bhajji has always remained economical in the IPL and his explosive batting is icing on the cake. Karn Sharma is also an all-rounder option.
By dropping the two among these three would surely hurt Chennai Super Kings. CSK may also go for two pacers on a spin-friendly track to keep Tahir and Bhajji/Karn together in its scheme of things.
- Shardul Thakur
He was tremendous for Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) in the IPL 2017 as claimed 11 wickets in the tournament. Representing the national side in the Nidahas Trophy, he remained decent with the bowl.
- Deepak Chahar
It is not a hidden fact that CSK lacks depth in fast bowling. Things would revolve around a quality pacer Deepak Chahar. He was the leading wicket-taker in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, scalping 19 wickets.
- Mark Wood/Lungi Ngidi
Ngidi, who recently debuted for South Africa, acted as a nightmare against India in the Test series. He scalped 14 wickets in just three Test matches. In three T20s, he has bagged six wickets in just three games so far.
English pacer Mark Wood is also an option for CSK to add more pace to the bowling attack.