The Chennai Super Kings finished 9th in the 10-team IPL 2022 season. But unlike some other bottom-half teams from last season, CSK didn’t went for a complete revamp. Instead they left a few players, who were past their best or were injury-prone, and boosted their squad in the IPL 2023 auction.
Chennai Super Kings
Players bought in IPL 2023 auction: Ben Stokes (16.25 cr), Kyle Jamieson (1 cr), Ajinkya Rahane (50 lakh), Shaik Rasheed (20 lakh), Nishant Sindhu (60 lakh), Ajay Mandal (20 lakh), Bhagath Varma (20 lakh)
The IPL 2023 is all but certain to be the last season of the 41-year-old MS Dhoni, who will turn 42 a month after the IPL will complete. The franchise- the second-most successful team in the IPL and perhaps with the most passionate and largest fan-base in the country- will want to give their stalwart skipper a winning farewell. And there are good reasons for it to be possible.
Here are 3 main reasons why CSK can win the IPL 2023:
CSK back to playing at Chepauk
The IPL will return to the traditional home-and-away format for the first time since 2019. In this period CSK had two dull seasons- in 2020 and 2022. Now, all the teams will play half their league games at their home venues.
The difference between CSK and other teams is that the Chepauk has been a strong fortress for CSK, one which is seldom breached. The reason for that has been the terrific spin bowling attack which CSK have all these years, and their batters also being adept in tackling the spin-friendly, slow Chepauk pitch.
You can even expect CSK to win 5 to 6 matches at the Chepauk out of 7, making their route to the playoffs much easier than it would otherwise be when playing at neutral venues as in the last three years.
A spate of all-rounders
While Dwayne Bravo, the IPL’s leading wicket-taker, has retired from the IPL, CSK have replaced him with another world-class marquee all-rounder: England’s Ben Stokes, who is set to alight the Chepauk and the IPL once again.
Apart from Stokes, CSK have a plethora of all-rounders (both seam- and spin-bowling) to choose from: Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja.
This gives plenty of options to skipper MS Dhoni, which he enjoys having, during CSK’s bowling, and this also gives them the enviable batting depth, something which is almost a necessity if teams want their top-order batters to bat aggressively and maximize the powerplay.
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, but have also 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 captainy, his brain, the confidence-booster he’s to his players – 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.
- Openers: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed
- Middle order: Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati
- Wk: MS Dhoni
- All-rounders: Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajay Mandal, Nishant Sindhu, Bhagath Varma
- Spinners: Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana
- Fast bowlers: Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Simarjeet Singh, Deepak Chahar, Kyle Jamieson