Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has picked his ideal playing XI for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL 2020. He also named Ravindra Jadeja as the player who is likely to shine for the franchise in this year's IPL.
Aakash Chopra carried out this exercise of picking the strongest possible Chennai Super Kings lineup for the upcoming IPL in a video shared on his Facebook page.
The renowned commentator's first pick in his Chennai Super Kings playing XI was Shane Watson, with the Australian having done well for the team over the last couple of years despite not playing international cricket.
"At No.1, I am putting Shane Watson. He doesn't play international cricket, which goes against him. We said the same thing the last 2 years, but he went hard at the bowlers. There was a time when everyone thought that he should be dropped but MS Dhoni didn't do that and then Watson repaid the faith shown on him."
Ambati Rayudu was Aakash Chopra's other choice as an opener. The Hyderabad batsman had even announced his retirement after being ignored for the 2019 World Cup before taking back his decision to call it quits.
"Along with him will be Ambati Rayudu. The last twelve months have been eventful for him. He first announced his retirement and then unretired himself. Now we will have to see how he bats in the IPL."
Aakash Chopra opted for Faf du Plessis as the No. 3 batsman while observing that the South African might hold the key to Chennai Super Kings' fortunes in IPL 2020, considering the absence of Suresh Raina.
"At No.3, I am going with Faf du Plessis. I think this season will be very important for him, especially if you see from CSK's point of view. Because if he does well, then CSK will also do well because he will have to shoulder the burden of Raina's absence. He plays spin well and is very fit also."
Kedar Jadhav made Aakash Chopra's ideal Chennai Super Kings XI as the No. 4 batsman, with the latter mentioning that it could be a toss-up between the Maharashtra cricketer and MS Dhoni for the batting position.
"At No.4, you can keep MS Dhoni or Kedar Jadhav. I have gone for the latter."
MS Dhoni took the No. 5 spot in the former KKR player's preferred Chennai Super Kings playing XI while adding that the captain should go into bat whenever a wicket falls around the halfway stage of the innings.
"So, we will have MS Dhoni at No.5. For MS Dhoni the simple rule should be that he should go into bat whenever 10-11 overs are done, irrespective of the batting position."
Aakash Chopra's selection of all-rounders and bowlers in his ideal Chennai Super Kings XI
Aakash Chopra observed that the Chennai Super Kings could go with Murali Vijay as an additional batsman, in which case the latter would also be opening the innings. But he opted for Ravindra Jadeja at the No. 6 position, considering MS Dhoni's propensity to go with seven bowlers in the playing XI.
"Because MS Dhoni likes to go with 7 bowling options, we will have to go with Ravindra Jadeja at No.6. He is doing very well but in this season he will have to do much more as a batsman, he will have a lot of responsibility on him. Earlier he used to play a supporting role, this time he will have to do the lead role for CSK."
Dwayne Bravo was Aakash Chopra's other pick as an all-rounder in his ideal Chennai Super Kings XI, while adding that the franchise could go for Sam Curran as well if the Trinidadian is not able to live up to expectations in the initial matches.
"At No.7, I have got Dwayne Bravo. He is coming in good form from the CPL. You also have the option of playing Sam Curran instead of him as an all-rounder option."
Aakash Chopra preferred Imran Tahir over Mitchell Santner in his Chennai Super Kings playing XI, reasoning that the selection of the Kiwi would make it two similar left-arm spinners in the team.
"At No.8, it could be Mitchell Santner or Imran Tahir. May be we will have to go with Tahir else there would be two left-arm spinners."
Aakash Chopra believes that Chennai Super Kings would opt for Piyush Chawla ahead of Karn Sharma as the other leg-spinner in their lineup, considering the huge bucks they paid for the former KKR bowler in the auction.
"At No.9, I have got Piyush Chawla. They have paid a lot for him and they will have to play him ahead of Karn Sharma. And he will bat a bit as well."
Aakash Chopra picked Deepak Chahar as one of the Indian pace bowlers in his preferred Chennai Super Kings XI, and expects the swing bowler to do well after bouncing back from his positive COVID-19 test.
"At No.10, I have got Deepak Chahar. He bowls well with the new ball in the powerplay. He takes a lot of wickets. Coming back after injury and COVID, the hope is that he will only move forward and not look behind."
Shardul Thakur was Aakash Chopra's final pick in his ideal Chennai Super Kings playing XI, with the option of Harbhajan Singh no longer available in case the franchise wanted to go with an additional spinner.
"At No.11, I have got Shardul Thakur. You will have to play him with Harbhajan not being available, in case they had wanted to play more spin."
Aakash Chopra signed off by opining that Chennai Super Kings would make it through to the playoffs despite their recent troubles while also picking Ravindra Jadeja as their likely star performer in IPL 2020.
"I feel they will qualify for the playoffs even with all these things that have happened. And I am going to go with Ravindra Jadeja as their top performer for this IPL."
Aakash Chopra's ideal Chennai Super Kings playing XI: Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir, Piyush Chawla, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur
Published 08 Sep 2020, 10:54 IST