In this series of articles, we are assessing the team combinations of all IPL teams before the auction on December 19. The aim is to identify the key areas that the teams need to address in this year’s auction. To segment the analysis, we have divided a team into four sections – Top-order (1-3), Middle-order (4-7), spinners and pacers.
We will analyse each of these segments by further segmenting them with the respective median value of their categories since IPL 2015. To eliminate bias from extreme values, a median (the middle value that separates the higher half from the lower half of the data set) not a mean (average) is considered for analysis. All numbers are taken since 2015 to ensure that the analysis is performed based on a long-term trend. Minimum qualification criteria for medians is 5 matches for batsmen and 10 overs for bowlers.
Top-order and Middle-order batsmen: The players in the top right-hand box are considered to be consistent and quick scorers (Batting Average above 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate above 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
The top left-hand box represents players who are quick scorers but not consistent (Batting Average below 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate above 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
The bottom right-hand section players are observed as consistent but not quick scorers (Batting Average above 29.93 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate below 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
And finally, the bottom left-hand section is regarded as players who are neither quick scorer nor consistent (Batting Average below 29.33 for top and 22.33 for middle-order and Batting Strike Rate below 132.1 for top and 132 for middle-order).
Pacers and Spinners: The players in the top right-hand box are considered to be economical and wicket-takers (Economy Rate below 8.8 for pacers and below 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate below 21.05 for pacers and below 24.55 for spinners.)
The top left-hand box represents players who are wicket-takers but not economical (Economy Rate above 8.8 for pacers and above 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate below 21.05 for pacers and below 24.55 for spinners.)
The bottom right-hand section players are observed as economical but not wicket-takers (Economy Rate below 8.8 for pacers and below 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate above 21.05 for pacers and above 24.55 for spinners.)
And finally, the bottom left-hand section contains players who are neither economical nor wicket-takers (Economy Rate above 8.8 for pacers and above 8 for spinners; Bowling Strike Rate above 21.05 for pacers and above 24.55 for spinners.)
Note that the aim of this analysis is to analyze the strongest squad possible each team can assemble after the auction; hence, suggestions like replacement for retained players are not provided.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
IPL 2019 Position – 2nd
CSK almost crossed the line for the second time in a row in 2019. Call it the charisma of their leader MS Dhoni or the inherent feeling of ownership instilled in players while playing under him, but a team that has many weaknesses on paper somehow always finds a way to get the job done.
CSK Top-order (1-3)
None of their top-order fall in the bracket of the consistent players with big-hitting abilities since 2015. Shane Watson played a dream of a knock in the finals but was highly inconsistent in the last season.
Faf du Plessis is very consistent but is often benched to fill other foreign players. Suresh Raina is still consistent but doesn’t instil the fear he once used to.
Owing to a lot of options at the top though, they do not have to necessarily look for an option. They can still look to invest in options like Priyam Garg who can be one for the future and will not take a toll on their tight pockets as of now. Other option can be to go all-in for an experienced player in Aaron Finch.
CSK Middle-Order (4-7)
With Dhoni as a finisher, a team can just relax until he is around. Ambati Rayudu has resurrected his career at CSK but his numbers have dropped significantly from 2018 (Average 23.5 in 2019 vs 43 in 2018; strike-rate 93.1 vs 149.8)
Even Kedar Jadhav had a strike-rate of only 95.9 in IPL 2019. The presence of a fit Dwayne Bravo and an ever-improving Ravindra Jadeja does strengthen their middle-order but, they can still look to invest in a middle-order player as a back-up.
One option that they have is top open with Rayudu who has a better strike-rate at that position (132.3) and can look to bid for Shimron Hetmyer who can be devastating on slow wickets of Chennai as he enjoys batting against spinners.
CSK management can doze off while the auction for spinners is on. As Dhoni loves to operate with spinners, he has too many options at his disposal.
Presence of Bravo strengthens their seam options. Deepak Chahar has been a revelation in this format. However, a worry for CSK will be the fitness of Lungi Ngidi who did not play in the 2019 season. Hence, to play safe they should plan to buy an alternate pacer too.
Best XI as per the current squad-
Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c and wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi.
IPL 2019 Position – 1st
No other team has won the IPL four times. The defending champions have the most settled squad among all the IPL teams. They will still have a good squad even if they do not buy any player in the forthcoming auction.
MI Top-Order (1-3)
Rohit Sharma is one of the best openers in the international circuit, let alone the IPL. The presence of Quinton de Kock along with him at the top has boosted the MI batting line-up.
Suryakumar Yadav’s numbers since 2015 do not do justice to his form since 2018. He has averaged a healthy 34.7 with a strike-rate of 132.2 in the last two seasons of the IPL. The top-order isn’t a worry for MI.
MI Middle Order (4-7)
Middle-order can be slightly concerning for MI, going into the auction. The form of Ishan Kishan based on IPL 2019 (average 16.8 at a strike-rate of 101) will be a little concerning. Based on the current squad, he will be a regular. Hence, it is imperative for him to search for a middle-order player who can replace Kishan if needed.
They can look to target his state-mate Virat Singh or Rohan Kadam on that front.
There is no need to talk about the value that the Pandya brothers and Kieron Pollard bring to the table. If all are fit, this is a solid middle-order.
Rahul Chahar was a regular in the victorious 2019 season. Jayant Yadav and Anukul Roy were tactfully included as needed on turning tracks. Krunal Pandya is also highly effective in the IPL set-up. However, they could still look to add another spinner in their set-up owing to indifferent numbers of Jayant and inexperience of Roy.
They have one of the best pacers in the world in Jasprit Bumrah.
While importing Trent Boult makes perfect sense for MI, the inclusion of Dhawal Kulkarni is not very clear. Unless just as a backup. Additionally, up until the final, Lasith Malinga was largely expensive in the last season (economy 9.8 in 12 matches).
The wicket-taker for them, Mitchell McClenaghan too played only five games (3 wickets). Hence it will ideal for them to buy another foreign pacer as a backup.
Please note that Pollard and Sherfane Rutherford are not included in pacers as their strike-rate is higher than the scope of the graph.
Best XI as per the current squad-
Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Lasith Malinga, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah.