Although they have a well-rounded squad on paper, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) aren't one of the favourites for the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The biggest reason behind this is that most of CSK's first-choice players are on the wrong side of 35, let alone 30. And a number of them haven't been active in international or domestic cricket of late, leading fans to believe that the rust on display last year wouldn't have gone away.
The IPL is becoming more competitive every year, and we could see many CSK players bid adieu to the sport or go unsold before the next season. Here are 5 CSK stars who might be playing their last IPL this year.
#5 Imran Tahir
If there's one CSK player who has defied age, it's Imran Tahir. The leg-spinner is now 42 years old, but he's still full of energy and passion. But he played only three games last year, and picked up only one wicket over the course of those games.
Tahir's time at the highest level of franchise cricket is coming to an end. CSK play a majority of their league matches in Bangalore and Mumbai, and neither IPL venue is going to support bowlers - especially spinners.
If the South African spends another season on the bench, CSK will have little reason to buy him back in the mega-auction. And Tahir will be closer to 45 than 40 then, and not many teams will be interested in him. We may see him go on his final celebratory run in the IPL this year.
#4 Dwayne Bravo
Dwayne Bravo is 37 years old, and age is starting to catch up to the all-rounder. His bowling has steadily dropped a few clicks each year; it's becoming difficult to station him at important fielding positions; his batting is almost non-existent now.
Although Bravo has the faith of CSK captain MS Dhoni, it would be a big surprise if he is part of the side next year. The West Indian's economy rates over the last two IPL seasons (8.57 and 8.01) have been respectable, but his wicket-taking threat has dwindled rapidly. And he's been concerningly injury-prone.
Bravo is another player who doesn't have a lot of cricket left in him at the top level, and we may see his legendary IPL career have its final chapter in 2021.