Chennai Super Kings - An IPL 2023 winning composition?
Chennai Super Kings during IPL 2022
The Chennai-based cricket franchise is on the verge of a legacy shift as MSD’s successor is being explored since last season. In order to turn around their fortunes at the mega league from last season, they have bought the likes of Ben Stokes, Kyle Jamieson, and Ajinkya Rahane at the recently concluded mini-auction. Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni would be looking to make the best squad composition required to win the IPL 2023 title and to build a strong core for the foreseeable future of CSK. Let us have a look at the challenges they might face.
The current squad after the auction stands as-
MS Dhoni, Devon Conway (NZ), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati, Moeen Ali (ENG), Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwaine Pretorius (SA), Mitchell Santner (NZ), Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana (SL), Simarjeet Singh, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana (SL), Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes (ENG), Kyle Jamieson (NZ), Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Ajay Mandal and K Bhagath Verma
Top Order – The team management would not want to disturb the opening Left Hand-Right Hand combination of Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad, as Devon showed promise last season and Ruturaj is coming from a spectacular domestic season. The management would want to fit in their most prized possession a.k.a. Ben Stokes at no. 3 spot or even Moeen Ali at 3rd or 4th Spot.
Middle Order – The middle order would comprise specialized batters like Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni along with all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Shivam Dube.
Bowlers – Deepak Chahar, the pace sensation, being bought for big bucks in the mega auction would want to prove his worth this season as his injury did dent CSKs success chances. Mukesh Choudhary and Simarjeet Singh did try to fill in the shoes of Chahar with their performances in last season’s later half. CSK would want to pin in Dwaine Pretorius and Kyle Jamieson for their away matches. Prashant Solanki and Maheesh Theekshana are the spin options.
Death Bowler Woes – Since Dwayne Bravo left, CSK has always been deficient in a specialized death bowler and with Deepak Chahar being on injury lines, CSK still lacks a death bowler. They do not have any other options as well except for Pretorius but as only 4 overseas players can make the 11, Devon Conway or Moeen Ali might have to be compromised.
Impact Player – IPL 2023 season will be the first to witness the introduction of the Impact Player Rule, where an additional player – Batter or Bowler can play during the match as a specialist. For CSK, Shivam Dube can be their impact player as a batter, as they do not have many options in bowling.
Captaincy Struggle – CSK entered the mini-auction to look for their new captain since the rumours of MSD's retirement caught fire. Though their management has stated that Ruturaj will be CSK’s new leader, after Jadeja’s miserable captaincy stint, they are looking for an interim/standing captain till the baton can be handed over to Rutu. However, it will be incredibly tough even impossible for any player to fill the shoes of MS but we might get to see Ben Stokes captaining the side in a few matches this season.
Probable playing XI –
Devon Conway (NZ), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ben Stokes (ENG), Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Mukesh Choudhary, Dwaine Pretorius (SA), Maheesh Theekshana (SL).
MSD has always been known for the best utilization of available resources even if they are as scarce as being called a Dad’s Army in 2018 and still ending up as title clinchers. This season he has Ajinkya Rahane for Ambati Rayudu’s backup, Mitchell Santner for slow and turning tracks, Kyle Jamieson and Matheesha Pathirana a.k.a Junior Malinga for pace tracks. With all these ingredients and his captaincy - the special ingredient, MS can cook another IPL title win.