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IPL: CSK's best all-time XI

Chennai Super Kings have won the IPL title on 3 occasions (Picture courtesy BCCI)
Chennai Super Kings have won the IPL title on 3 occasions (Picture courtesy BCCI)
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
Modified 29 Apr 2020, 19:36 IST
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Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is the most consistent teams in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Chennai-based team has reached the play-off or the knock-out stage in each of the ten seasons they have been a part of the prestigious league. They are also the second most successful team in the history of the IPL, having bagged the title on three occasions.

CSK have largely tended to rely on their tried and tested players, making only minimal changes in their team composition over the years. This strategy has paid them rich dividends, and the success they have enjoyed in the IPL bears testimony to that.

Our aim here is to come up with the best possible all-time XI for CSK, comprising of players who have represented the franchise in IPL over the years. As usual, the team has been formed complying with the IPL rule of allowing no more than four foreign players in the playing XI.

Let us see which players find themselves a place in the all-time CSK XI.


Openers

#1: Michael Hussey

Michael Hussey is the highest run-scorer among foreign players for CSK.
Michael Hussey is the highest run-scorer among foreign players for CSK.

Michael Hussey would be one of the opening batsmen in this all-time CSK XI. The Australian is the highest run-scorer among the foreign players for CSK. Mr. Cricket, as he is fondly known, was the winner of the Orange Cap for the Chennai-based franchise in IPL 2013.

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Overall, Hussey has aggregated 1768 runs in the IPL for CSK, at a healthy average of 42.09 and a strike rate of 123.63. His average is the best among all CSK players who have played a minimum of ten innings in the IPL, behind only MS Dhoni.


#2: Matthew Hayden

Matthew Hayden was the winner of the IPL Orange Cap in 2009.
Matthew Hayden was the winner of the IPL Orange Cap in 2009.

In this all-time CSK XI, Matthew Hayden would stride out to open the batting with his fellow Australian Michael Hussey. Just like Hussey, the burly Queenslander is also the recipient of the Orange Cap, having ended IPL 2009 as the top-scorer that season.

Hayden scored 1107 runs for CSK in three seasons that he was a part of the yellow-brigade. This run tally came at a decent average of 36.90. Hayden is the third-highest run-scorer among CSK players, scoring his runs at a strike-rate of 137.51.

Shane Watson, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Faf du Plessis also stake a claim for a spot at the top of the order in CSK's all-time XI. But Hayden gets the nod due to his superior consistency.

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Middle Order (3-5)

#3: Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina is the highest run-scorer for CSK in the IPL.
Suresh Raina is the highest run-scorer for CSK in the IPL.

At number three, Suresh Raina would be a certainty in this all-time CSK XI. The Uttar Pradesh batsman is the highest run-scorer for CSK in the history of the IPL. Raina is also the second highest run-scorer in the IPL, Virat Kohli being the highest.

Raina has amassed 4527 runs for the Chennai based franchise in the IPL, doing so at an average of 33.28 and a strike rate of 137.34. Although the left-hander has not been very prolific in the last few seasons, Raina is generally regarded as one of the biggest success stories in IPL history.

Apart from his attacking strokeplay, Raina can also bowl a few overs of part-time off-spin, besides being one of the best fielders in the CSK team.


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#4: Ambati Rayudu

Ambati Rayudu played a significant role in CSK
Ambati Rayudu played a significant role in CSK's title-winning run in 2018.

Ambati Rayudu would be the pick for the No.4 position in CSK's all-time XI. The Hyderabad batsman was one of CSK's stand-out performers in IPL 2018, as the Chennai-based team bagged the title after a two-year hiatus from the competition.

Rayudu has scored 884 runs at an average of 34.00 and a strike rate of 125.39 in the last two seasons for CSK.

The right-hander also offers the option to bat at the top of the order if the need arises, but for our all-time XI he would come out at number four.


#5: MS Dhoni (Wicketkeeper and Captain)

MS Dhoni has been the CSK captain since the inaugural edition of the IPL.
MS Dhoni has been the CSK captain since the inaugural edition of the IPL.

MS Dhoni is undoubtedly the most pivotal player of CSK. It is a no-brainer that the Jharkand wicket-keeper batsman would be leading this hypothetical CSK XI. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dhoni would also be donning the wicket-keeping gloves for this team.

Dhoni is the second-highest run-scorer for CSK with 3858 runs to his credit. These runs have come at an average of 44.34, the highest among all CSK batsmen, and an impressive strike rate of 140.03. The former India captain has struck 209 sixes in the IPL, the most by any Indian batsman.

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The CSK captain is lightning quick behind the stumps as well, having accounted for 132 dismissals, the most in the history of the IPL.


All-rounders (6-7)

#6: Dwayne Bravo

Dwayne Bravo is the highest wicket-taker for CSK in the IPL.
Dwayne Bravo is the highest wicket-taker for CSK in the IPL.

Dwayne Bravo would play the seam-bowling all-rounder's role in this all-time CSK XI. The Trinidadian would play a crucial role in the death overs, both with the bat and the ball.

Bravo is the highest wicket-taker for CSK in the history of the IPL, taking 104 wickets at an average of 23.12 and an economy rate of 8.37. The West Indian has bagged the Purple Cap (most wickets in an IPL season) on two occasions, doing so in IPL 2013 and in IPL 2015.

With the bat in hand, Bravo has played some crucial innings for CSK to bail the team out of trouble. For the record, he has scored 927 runs for the Chennai-based team at an average of 26.48 and a strike rate of 135.52.

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Bravo is also an exceptional fielder and has come up with some breathtaking catches in several key matches for the team.


#7: Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja has the best bowling figures in an innings for CSK.
Ravindra Jadeja has the best bowling figures in an innings for CSK.

Ravindra Jadeja would play the spin-bowling all-rounder's role in this all-time CSK XI. The Saurashtra all-rounder has been one of the critical players for CSK since he joined the team in 2012.

Jadeja has accounted for 81 wickets for CSK in the IPL, which is the second-highest among Indian bowlers for the franchise. These wickets have come at a decent average of 24.87 and an acceptable economy rate of 7.45.

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The left-arm spinner holds the record for the best bowling performance in an inning by a CSK bowler. Jadeja achieved this feat when he returned figures of 5/16 against Deccan Chargers in IPL 2012.

The left-hander has also scored 865 runs with the bat for CSK at an average of 21.62 and a strike rate of 126.46. Besides, Jadeja is an electric fielder who can change the course of a match by his fielding alone.


Bowlers (8-11)

#8: Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin is the highest wicket-taking Indian bowler for CSK.
Ravichandran Ashwin is the highest wicket-taking Indian bowler for CSK.

Ravichandran Ashwin would lead the CSK spin attack in the team's all-time XI. The Tamil Nadu off-spinner is the highest-taker for the Chennai based team among all Indian bowlers.

Ashwin has scalped 90 wickets for CSK at an average of 24.22 and a miserly economy rate of 6.45. The off-spinner's economy rate is the best among all Indian bowlers who have delivered a minimum of 250 balls for CSK.


#9: Deepak Chahar

Deepak Chahar has been CSK
Deepak Chahar has been CSK's best bowler in the last two seasons.
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Deepak Chahar would open the attack in this all-time CSK XI. The Rajasthan seamer would be expected to strike the early blows with the prodigious swing and seam movements that he generates.

Chahar has accounted for 32 scalps for CSK in the last two seasons of the IPL. He has invariably provided crucial early breakthroughs for the team. These wickets have come at an average of 23.75 and an economy rate of 7.40, the best among all Indian fast bowlers who have delivered more than 250 balls for CSK.

Mohit Sharma, the highest wicket-taker among Indian seam bowlers for CSK, could have been the other pace bowling option in CSK's all-time XI. But Chahar gets a slight edge owing to his consistent performances in the last two seasons of the IPL.


#10: Imran Tahir

Imran Tahir was the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2019.
Imran Tahir was the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2019.
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Imran Tahir would play the attacking leg-spinner's role in this all-time CSK XI. The South African spinner was in terrific form in IPL 2019, winning the Purple Cap for the 26 wickets he snared.

Overall, Tahir has picked up 32 wickets in the last two seasons for CSK. These wickets have come at an outstanding average of 19.34 and a decent economy rate of 7.28.


#11: Ashish Nehra

Ashish Nehra would provide the necessary experience in the pace department in CSK
Ashish Nehra would provide the necessary experience in the pace department in CSK's all-time XI.

Ashish Nehra would spearhead the CSK pace attack in their all-time XI. The left-arm Delhi seamer would lend variety to the team's attack.

Nehra picked up 30 wickets in the two seasons he represented the Chennai outfit. These wickets came at an excellent average of 19.70, the best among all Indian bowlers who have delivered more than 250 balls for CSK. Nehra had an economy rate of 7.67 for CSK.

The left-armer's ability to bowl in the power play as well at the death often stood the team in good stead.

Published 29 Apr 2020, 19:08 IST
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