Chennai Super Kings: The team, the force, the legend
Chennai Super Kings have been one of the most successful, in not the most successful, teams in the Indian Premiere League. And there are several reasons for that, not least of which is their captain MS Dhoni.
Chennai Super Kings have been playing the IPL since its inaugural season in 2008 and have been near the top of the cash-rich T20 cricket league ever since. They have qualified for the playoffs in each of the 9 seasons they've played, winning the tournament on three separate occasions (sharing the record for most number of titles with Mumbai Indians).
CSK have also won the Champions League T20 tournament on two occasions (2010, 2014), again sharing the record for most number of titles with Mumbai Indians. They've got the highest winning percentage in matches (60.67%), winning 91 out of the 150 matches they've played. On top of that, the brand value of the Super Kings in 2018 was estimated at $65 million, making them the most valuable franchise in the IPL.
It hasn't been all smooth sailing for CSK though. They have had their shares of trouble too. In July 2015, they were suspended from the tournament for the next 2 seasons (2016, 2017), due to the alleged involvement of their owners in betting in 2013 (along with Rajasthan Royals). After serving their two-year ban, they returned back to the league in 2018, and won the tournament comprehensively for a record 3rd time.
A well-balanced squad
Whichever season you look at CSK's squad, it is always one of the most well-balanced in the league. It always has the perfect amount of everything in it - batsmen, bowlers, all-rounders, youngsters, experienced players.
CSK's uncapped player has also been a great asset to the team over the years. One such example is Mohit Sharma, who went on to play for India at the international level.
CSK choose their overseas player very smartly too, which adds great value to the team. On top of that, the team works as a unit, which helps a lot and is exactly what is required of teams to win tournaments of such high levels.
Last season, the team management was criticized for having a lot of 30-above players in the team before the tournament began. But the decision turned out to be a master-stroke, as CSK went on to use their veterans' experience to win the tournament.
2. The man himself - MS Dhoni
Anyone who follows cricket, knows what a great captain MS Dhoni had been of the Indian side for many years before Virat Kohli took over the reins. Dhoni's captaincy skills have been a great factor in CSK becoming the side they are right now.
Dhoni's ability to remain calm even in the most dire situations has been one of his trademarks. On top of that, his batting prowess is well-known.
Dhoni might not be the finisher he used to be, but he can still pack a punch. And that's a pretty heavy punch too, as we saw last season where he wronged the critics who had written him off due to his 35-plus age and recent string of poor performances.
Dhoni's patented helicopter shot is still one of the most feared batting shots in the cricketing world.
3. The fan base - an army in its own right
Any sporting team, or sports personality, is incomplete without their fans. The fans are who make them what they are, who motivate them to come out and play, who celebrate with them in the highs and support them in the lows.
Chennai's fans have always been among the most loyal fans out there. They supported CSK when they were suspended for 2 years, they come out in large numbers to support the team at their home ground in Chennai, and they even came to Pune when CSK's home matches were shifted from Chennai to Pune last year. I saw a meme on the internet which rightly said that CSK's fans would even go to the moon to watch Chennai's matches.
Will CSK repeat last year's heroics, or will they bow out before the playoffs? It will be interesting to see how they fare in this year's IPL.
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