One of the most successful and consistent sides in the IPL, the Chennai Super Kings are coming off their worst ever season in the league. In 2020, CSK failed to enter the playoffs for the first time.
Handicapped by the unavailability of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, the team was forced to experiment with uncomfortable setups. Poor form and lack of match practice, combined with the difficulty in getting their combinations right, were the major factors behind CSK's underwhelming performance last season.
In 2021, skipper MS Dhoni will try his best to resolve the issue regarding the playing XI. But their squad composition doesn't make it all that easy. As we near the start of the season, we look at 3 possible overseas combinations that CSK can try during the course of IPL 2021.
1. Faf du Plessis, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Imran Tahir
Faf du Plessis was the standout batsman for CSK in a season where he had little support from the rest. The former Proteas skipper should open the innings in most games this season, especially on tracks which offer more pace.
Moeen Ali, the latest entrant into the side, should fit in as the lone off-spinner in the playing XI. A floater with the bat in the middle-order, he is adept at taking on spinners.
Ali's all-round ability makes him an invaluable asset to this side. In a way, Ali's skill-set completes CSK, since big hitting and off-spin were the key elements the team missed last season.
Sam Curran was a revelation for CSK in 2020. He is one of those players who can 'make things happen'. Sam showed great character with both bat and ball last season and proved to be a genuine match-winner. A player who exhibits calmness and fighting spirit in respectable proportions, Curran should likely be in the starting XI irrespective of the pitch.
The spin department, formerly their strength, fell flat for CSK in 2020. Instead of controlling the game in the middle-overs, their spinners leaked runs and couldn't pick up enough wickets. Imran Tahir should therefore find a place in the lineup and look to provide crucial breakthroughs for the team. The 2019 Purple Cap holder still has the ability to dismiss the best batsmen in the world.
Probable Playing XI: Faf du Plessis, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir