The MS Dhoni-led franchise missed the playoffs last year for the first time in IPL history. They were the first team to be knocked out of the race for a playoff spot and eventually finished seventh in the points table.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra opined the Chennai Super Kings might meet a similar fate this time around as well.
"The Chennai Super Kings look like a mid-table team to me. I won't be surprised at all if the Chennai Super Kings don't qualify. This team needed the auction but they did not get that," said Chopra.
The cricketer-turned-commentator reckons the lack of big-hitters and express pace bowlers in the Chennai Super Kings squad might prove to be their undoing in their first few matches at the Wankhede.
"Their first five matches are in Mumbai and after that four in Delhi. They are going to get stuck if they are playing their first nine encounters in Mumbai and Delhi. You need to score very fast in Mumbai and you need extra fast bowling, that means fast and not swing bowling and they do not have that," observed Chopra.
Aakash Chopra named Josh Hazlewood as the only quick bowler in the Chennai Super Kings lineup, although he too has pulled out of the tournament now.
"They have Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo. Josh Hazlewood is the only one who is actually fast. And they do not have the pace in the batting also. They will find it difficult to score 180," added Chopra.
With the withdrawal of Josh Hazlewood from IPL 2021, Lungi Ngidi is the only express bowler in the Chennai Super Kings squad at the moment. But they can acquire one as a replacement for the Aussie quick.
Aakash Chopra on the Chennai Super Kings' other weakness
Aakash Chopra pointed out that a significant number of prominent Chennai Super Kings players coming into IPL 2021 from the cold will be another weakness for the franchise.
"Secondly, so many players have been away from international or competitive cricket and for quite a long time. You can talk about Ambati Rayudu, Dhoni, Raina and even Ravindra Jadeja because of injury. Dwayne Bravo is playing but how much. It has been a long time since Deepak Chahar has played, even the Indian team is not playing him," said Chopra.
The former KKR player signed off by stating that the Chennai Super Kings are displaying vulnerabilities that haven't been seen before, with their new signings Krishnappa Gowtham and Moeen Ali likely to be ineffective on most tracks they will play on.
"If they don't hit the ground running, this team can struggle. You never used to see so many weaknesses when you looked towards Chennai but you are seeing them now. They had taken Krishnappa Gowtham and Moeen Ali for turning pitches and may not be able to play them in Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore," concluded Chopra.
It will certainly be a challenge for the Chennai Super Kings to bounce back from the low of IPL 2020. Although they have tried to address some of their areas of concern, the lack of a mega-auction before IPL 2021 has hit them hard.