Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has already penned an unwanted record in the latest edition of the IPL as for the first time in the history of the tournament, as the team has slumped down to three consecutive defeats.
Out of the three, two of them have come due to batting fiascos while the second game was lost as Jadeja somehow conceded the plot in an evenly poised game and wanted Shivam Dube to pull off a miracle with the latter getting hammered for 25 runs in an over. Much to the woes of their fans, there has been zero chemistry so far and the team is heavily reliant on individual brilliance instead of a collective display of teamwork.
With eleven games to go, a turnaround can be just a win away. However, there are few modifications that will be the need of the hour for the Yellow Army. They will have to figure out what exactly is the problem before they think of turning the tide around.
A quick shuffle in the opening pair
Chennai’s strategy in the auction was straightforward as they were hellbent to get the entire band back from IPL 2021. They were definitely successful to a certain extent only to miss out on one of their key players, Faf du Plessis. The South African opener was an absolute beast in the middle and would save a flailing CSK batting order from the hostilities of the expressmen.
They wanted to replace Faf with Devon Conway which seemed like a sagacious move on the day of the auction, considering the preceding reputation of the New Zealander, however, when it comes to franchise cricket, numbers in the international circuit can very well be a smokescreen. Conway’s dynamicity is nowhere close to the South African and by the time he gets his eyes, the powerplays are almost done, taking out a chunk of the sting from CSK batting.
Coming to last year’s Orange Cap holder, Ruturaj Gaikwad, the youngster has so far been clueless about what exactly has been the scenario with him. The surfaces in Mumbai have provided early bounce and swing, making it difficult for the openers to trade haymakers. The youngster clearly has had struggles trying to negotiate the early movement and has fallen miserably at the face of experience.
If CSK will have to throw a stopper in their nosedive, the first and foremost need of the hour is that their openers start finding their stride. Also, Robin Uthappa is definitely a clean striker of the cherry but at his age, if you would rely on him to bail you out on every occasion, it is utter foolishness. Gaikwad needs someone who would provide him the early reliability and Conway definitely isn’t a leader and Uthappa is someone who plies the trade of a pinch-hitter.
Even though Ambati Rayudu didn’t really have a successful IPL so far, it won’t be a bad idea to try him out at the opening slot. His experience may calm the frayed nerves of Gaikwad that may allow the young Indian batter to come forth with his best.
A like-for-like replacement for Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar was CSK’s most expensive purchase at the auction that saw them splurging an insane 14 crore for the aspiring all-rounder. Needless to say, he has proven himself invaluable to the likes of the Super Kings.
However, while plying his trade for India, he suffered a quadriceps injury that took him out for a major part of the IPL. This is where everything has gone wrong for Chennai Super Kings. Their main punt to attack the opposition in the initial overs has simply not been visible and as the days pass by, the absence of Chahar is evident in the most blazing livery.
With their main pacer not in the shed, CSK may turn to the likes of a young Rajvardhan Hangargekar. Despite being untested in a bigger roster, he has some raw pace and makes good use of his stature. More importantly, he is very disciplined and sticks to the line of the stumps. Only if he is able to control his length, he may just be another young sensation that can bail CSK out.
CSK have an inexperienced bowling attack
CSK let go of Josh Hazlewood in the precursor edition of the tournament and now their bowling has been as blunt as ever as they still try desperately to make ends meet. Chris Jordan has been battered left and right while Dwayne Bravo’s form has been highly questionable.
Dwayne Pretorious has returned decent figures but when it comes to cut and run encounters, it is tough for just one bowler to change the hustle. Now, in a tournament where out of the first 11 matches, on 6 glaring occasions, the bowlers have walked away with the man of the match award, it is needless to say that if one needs to display dominance in the tournament, they will need an ace bowler who can conveniently tip the scales of the game.
With the Bendemeer Bullet gone to Royal Challengers Bangalore, CSK will have to make the best use of Adam Milne. Probably he is not the guy who would rack up sensational figures but he has pace in his arsenal and that is what makes him a very menacing customer.
The team management and MS Dhoni will need to have a discussion with him regarding his variations. The pitches have been decent until now and in the early overs have offered swing and bounce. Only if Milne can pick the right spots, he can be the next big man for CSK.