In what is probably going to be the last season as a player for MS Dhoni, the 41-year-old would want to lead the Chennai Super Kings to their and his fifth IPL trophy and have the perfect farewell in IPL 2023.
CSK finished 9th in the points table in IPL 2022, with MS Dhoni taking the captaincy back from Jadeja mid-season
Instead of revamping their squad, they only left out a few players – but the big losses were the retirements of Dwayne Bravo and Robin Uthappa – and bought a few utility players in the Indian Premier League 2023 auction with Ben Stokes headlining the auction.
CSK will kick-start their Indian League 2023 campaign on the tournament opener on March 31st against defending champions Gujarat Titans, in Ahmedabad, which is where the final will also be played. CSK and its fans will be hopeful that the Men In Yellow will be back in Ahmedabad for the final and eventually lift the Indian Premier League 2023 trophy.
Here are 3 key reasons why MS Dhoni’s CSK can win the IPL 2023:
Stokes, Jadeja, and other all-rounders providing depth and strength
In the Indian Premier League 2023, CSK boasts of a spate of all-rounders, three of which – Jadeja, Stokes, and Moeen Ali – are world-class quality, having proven themselves for a long time and have attained success at all levels.
Jadeja and Stokes are virtually two players in one – and now they will both be playing in the same XI, making it effectively 13 players in a team.
To add to this trio, CSK’s squad also includes Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Deepak Chahar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner – all of whom have shown their mettle in the past, whether for their national teams, domestic sides, or in other T20 competitions. Among them, Dube will have an important role of a spin basher in the middle-overs while Pretorius could take the death-overs bowling role from Bravo, and Deepak Chahar is one of the best new-ball bowlers in the IPL. Santner, though, could find himself mostly on the bench.
CSK back to playing at Chepauk
The IPL returns to the traditional home-and-away format for the first time since 2019 – this is a major advantage and boost to CSK: they will back playing their 7 home league games at the spin-friendly Chepauk, which CSK made a fortress on the back of their spinners and variation-attuned pacers, their quality batters who can tackle the bowlers on such surfaces, and their strong crowd support.
CSK’s journey in the playoffs heavily depended on winning home games – one of the reasons for their bad seasons in 2020 and 2022 was not having the advantage of utilizing their squad that had been tailor-made to make use of the Chepauk pitches that they can now do in Indian League 2023.
Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Theekshana, and Santner, all will be eager to bowl in Chennai on the tracks assisting spinners.
The MS Dhoni touch
Players can replace players; holes can be filled in a line-up; tactics can be planned before the match. But no one can replicate, or even come remotely close to what MS Dhoni the captain and the leader brings to the table.
CSK have reached the most number of IPL finals, and have appeared in the playoffs most times. They have won 4 IPL titles, only one less than Mumbai Indians having played two seasons fewer than MI.
Dhoni knows his batting has washed off in the past few years and he himself has slipped himself down the batting order. But his captaincy, his brain, the confidence-booster he’s to his players, the tactical nous he has, his proactiveness as a skipper – that will never go away. One last hurrah for MS Dhoni. One last season for CSK fans to enjoy their adopted son. Maybe one more trophy under MS Dhoni.
CSK squad for IPL 2023:
MS Dhoni (C & wk), Moeen Ali, Bhagath Varma, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway (wk), Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Dwaine Pretorius, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Subhranshu Senapati, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Ben Stokes, Maheesh Theekshana