The Kings are struggling – they really are!
Even after they chased down the highest score in this IPL against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings have been a shadow of their past performances. Donning the yellow jersey, the Super Kings not only looked like Australia, but also played like them in the past editions of the T20 carnival. Be it IPL or Champions League, MSD’s men have never looked so out of steam. The entire team looks unsettled and there is an apprehension in their approach. They might still make the last four of the competition but from what they have dished up till now, there supporters might be just keeping their fingers crossed.
So what has went wrong for the men from Chennai who have been a part of the most consistent side in the IPL over the years?
Murali Vijay is simply down in the dumps. His bad form and the absence of Michael Hussey has stung Super Kings badly. Despite Faf du Plessis being a revelation, Super Kings have faltered in every game till now to get a substantial opening stand. Till the time Mike Hussey arrives as his replacement, Super Kings have to get Vijay out of the equation and throw in Anirudh Srikanth or may be push Subramaniam Badrinath up the order with du Plessis. Badrinath is a waste of talent in the middle order that boasts of an ensemble of big hitters.
Chennai’s bowling lacks the sting and looks jaded. Except Doug Bollinger, the bowling lacks penetration. R. Ashwin has not been his own self and has failed to pick up important breakthroughs that he did in previous editions. Shadab Jakati, too, has not been able to provide the variety. Dwayne Bravo and Albie Morkel have bowled well in patches but have failed to provide that cutting edge a la Kieron Pollard or Morne Morkel.
Suresh Raina has been ordinary. His flashy twenties haven’t helped the team, but have put more pressure due to his injudicious shot selection. Even with the ball, Dhoni’s man Friday has not been able to get the breakthroughs.
For CSK to shine, Raina has to refine his shot selection and get into his big hitting groove that has made him one of the most successful players in the IPL over the years.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Perhaps the biggest problem for CSK has been Dhoni’s lack of form with the bat and his ordinary captaincy. Dhoni has gone off the boil ever since the World Cup victory in 2011 and has looked mentally fatigued and physically tired. He has not played his trademark knocks, his body language lacks the aggression and has been a let down with his field settings and bowling changes.
MSD is struggling and so is his team. All the criticism from all factions of the media has not helped either. He has lost his spunk and gone inside a cocoon which has not only damaged his own game, but also his team’s performance.
IPL might be the perfect opportunity for Dhoni to stage a comeback. For that, he might look to give his gloves to Wriddhiman Saha, enjoy his game, get a haircut and start batting the way he used to because we all know if Dhoni gets into his own….It will be Whistle Podu time for Chennai Super Kings again!