The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been one of the most consistent teams in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The team, led by M. S. Dhoni, has made it to the playoffs in all 9 seasons of IPL in which they have participated.
CSK has won the coveted IPL trophy on 3 occasions and have finished as runners-up on 4 occasions. The management has retained the nucleus of the team and the results have been positive for the franchise.
All the teams have strengthened their squads for the upcoming IPL season, but CSK have a few issues that may hurt their chances of succeeding in the upcoming season.
We look at 3 reasons why CSK may struggle in the 2020 IPL:
#1. Lack of back-up for the Indian fast bowlers
The CSK squad for the 2020 IPL has only two Indian pacers in Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.
Deepak Chahar has tasted success in international cricket as well as for CSK in the IPL. Chahar has a knack for picking up wickets with the new ball and is also good at controlling the flow of runs in the powerplay overs. Chahar last played an international game in December 2019 and has been out of competitive cricket due to an injury since then. The 2020 IPL will see Chahar getting into action for the first time following his injury and his fitness will be tested.
Shardul Thakur has been inconsistent in T20 internationals as well as IPL cricket. He may pick up a wicket or two but his economy rate has been on the higher side i.e. 8.73 in T20 internationals and 9.04 in IPL cricket.
In case of any injury or indifferent form of Chahar and/or Thakur, CSK will find it difficult to replace them. Back-up options like Asif and Monu Kumar are inexperienced, having played only a handful of matches at the domestic level and they may find it difficult to make an immediate impact in the IPL.
#2. Over-dependence on spinners
CSK has been known to rely on spinners over the years. Spin bowling has been their main attacking weapon and asset in the previous editions of the IPL. The main reason for the same has been the slow and sluggish nature of the pitch at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
CSK has plenty of spinners in their ranks namely Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, who all have experience in playing cricket at the international level.
Out of the above-mentioned spinners, it is very unlikely that more than 3 spinners will find a place in the team, and experienced spinners may be left out from the playing XI.
Spin has been the asset for CSK in the past but an over-dependence on spinners in the 2020 IPL may not be a good idea for CSK in the 2020 IPL.
#3. The core of the team has retired/ not played T20 international cricket for a long time
The likes of M. S. Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Imran Tahir, and Shane Watson have all retired from international cricket. Apart from the above-mentioned cricketers, Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, and Faf du Plessis have not been a part of their respective international T20 teams.
Vijay last played a T20 international in the year 2015 and has been in and out of the CSK outfit for the last couple of seasons. He averaged 18.80 in the 2018 IPL season and did not feature in a single game in the 2019 IPL. Vijay will be short of match practice in the upcoming IPL season.
Ambati Rayudu averaged 23.50 in the 2019 IPL season and Jadhav averaged 18 in the same season. The duo has fallen out of favour with the selectors in the Indian team and will have to prove their match fitness to get into the playing XI.
Faf du Plessis too has not been considered by the selectors in South Africa for T20 cricket and his recent form has not been impressive.
Shane Watson does not play international cricket, but averaged just 23.41 in the 2019 edition of the IPL. Raina too averaged 23.94 in the 2019 IPL and struggled to get going in the same edition.
The nucleus of the squad is in their mid or late thirties and their fitness may be a concern for the team.Published 29 Aug 2020, 14:29 IST