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Jadeja has got huge shoes to fill as CSK step into a new era

Last updated on 25 Mar 2022 | 06:29 AM
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Jadeja has got huge shoes to fill as CSK step into a new era

IPL 2022 - Analyzing Chennai Super Kings' squad depth, strengths and weaknesses

Squad Depth

Possible Starting XI

What works for CSK?

•    This is a team that knows how to win. The future seemed bleak after 2020 but they were nimble to plug the gaps and surprise everyone in 2021. The make-up of the team remains similar to the champion side of 2021.

•    The batting runs deep. In their best XI, they have batter as capable as Deepak Chahar at number ten. There is a good mix of righties and lefties in the top seven.

•    Up top, Ruturaj Gaikwad was the Orange Cap winner and the emerging player of the season in 2021. Since he was in the pink of his form only a few months back, there is no reason for him to not start from where he left off.  

•    CSK will expect Devon Conway to walk into Faf du Plessis' shoes and take up the responsibility of attacking the pacers while Gaikwad manages spin. Though performance in New Zealand does not guarantee success anywhere else, an average of over 50 against both pace and spin to go with a strike rate of 130s in T20s since 2020 should count for something.

•    Moeen Ali’s intent with the bat and maturity with the ball filled two voids for CSK in 2021. His presence in the middle-order gives them a spin basher. Ambati Rayudu does a similar job against pacers.

•    Ravindra Jadeja is now a beast with the bat. In the last two seasons, he has averaged 57.4 and has a strike rate of 157.7. He is capable to bat at any spot from four to seven. But CSK will want him to not just take over captaincy reins from MS Dhoni but also to import his nerves of steel as a finisher.

•    In Dwayne Bravo, CSK have a pace-bowling all-rounder as well as a weapon with the ball in the death overs. They have made a pragmatic move to add Dwaine Pretorius who is a like-for-like replacement for the ageing Bravo.

•    Just like CSK are sorted at the death with Bravo, striking early in the Powerplay is Chahar’s duty. Adam Milne is a perfect foil for Bravo and Chahar. With his high pace, he can hit the deck and can thus bowl in every phase and be effective on dead wickets.

Where CSK might struggle?

•    Tackling the elephant in the room first, Deepak Chahar might miss the first half of the season. That exposes a big gap in CSK’s XI since they will have to potentially bleed in a newbie and expect him to deliver. Or they will have to play without Conway and give up the formula that has worked for them. For all their strengths, CSK as a team do not believe in tinkering with the XI and have anecdotally found it tough to manage without their first-choice players like in 2020.

•    As mentioned above, though Conway has done well in New Zealand, he has little to show in other conditions. During the World T20 in UAE, he had an overall strike rate of 108.4 that came down to a mere 79.3 against pacers. 

•    Both Robin Uthappa and MS Dhoni are in the twilight of their career. CSK will use them as sloggers given their batting depth but are likely to come good sporadically. 

•    Rajvardhan Hangargekar has a buzz around him and will likely be in the starting XI. However, success at the Under-19 level does not always translate to results at such a competitive stage, especially for a pacer which will be his primary role.

•    Dhoni not being a captain looks like an opportunity for others to exploit. However, there is little doubt about who will actually run the show.

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