By Ankit Bisht
New Delhi [India], September 12 (ANI): Chennai Super Kings, with an average age of 31.41 years, is often called the 'Daddy's Army' in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But when it comes to the record books, the Chennai franchise possesses one of the most consistent squads in the tournament.
The team has experienced players with ages varying from a 21-year-old in Sam Curran to a 40-year-old in South Africa's Imran Tahir. 13 of the team's 24 members are above the age of 30 years.
Since the inception of the IPL in 2008, the side has maintained its core players and backed them in tough times.
CSK is one of the most successful sides in the history of the IPL and under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the side has won the title three times and lifted the Champions League trophy twice. The Chennai-based side has also finished the tournament as runners-up four times. In the last edition of IPL, CSK faced a dramatic one-run defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians in the final.
While CSK have had many members who have retired from international cricket, the most recent addition to that list is skipper Dhoni. The talisman called time on his careers on August 15.
While the likes of Imran Tahir and Dwayne Bravo are only playing the shortest format of the game for their respective country, the likes of Piyush Chawla and Murali Vijay have not represented the national team for a while.
Moving on from discussions around the players' age, the biggest blow for the Yellow Brigade this season has to be the withdrawal of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh from the league citing family reasons. Their absence will bother CSK in the 13th edition of the event as the duo have the experience to match the skills they bring to the table.
The top-order of the team consists of Vijay, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson. In the last season, Watson and du Plessis both performed well and scored 398 and 396 runs respectively. Vijay's form can be a concern though for the side.
The likes on Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo and Ruturaj Gaikwad will bolster the middle-order. The team will miss the services of Raina here as he has over the years been one of the most consistent performers for CSK.
There is no doubt in saying that CSK has the best finishers in the IPL as Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja on their own can change the momentum of the game.
Despite having a spin-heavy squad, the team's bowling line-up looks decently placed. Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Karn Sharma and R Sai Kishore will lead the spin bowling department while Lungi Ngidi, Josh Hazlewood, Sam Curran, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur will perform the duties of pacers. Not to forget Jadeja and death-specialist Bravo.
The weakness of the side is an aspect that has been their USP in the last couple of seasons -- experienced players. While they have held fort in trying situations in the past, the lack of match practice due to the coronavirus pandemic might catch them rusty and on the backfoot. The extensive heat in UAE might also test their fitness level on the field.
The slow pitches of the UAE will surely give CSK an added advantage as they have used dust bowls in Chennai to spin a web over opposition batsmen in the past seasons. The early start will also help bowlers as the dew factor will not play a major role in the second innings.
CSK Squad: MS Dhoni (wk and c), Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Murali Vijay, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Narayan Jagadeesan, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Josh Hazlewood, Karn Sharma, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Monu Kumar, Piyush Chawla, R Sai Kishore, Shardul Thakur. (ANI)