Chennai Super Kings managed to fill the voids left in the squad that will be good enough to put out a team to do well in the Indian conditions.
‘Whistle Podu’ is the anthem that we all listen every year during the month of April and May. Chennai Super Kings starts every season as one of the favorites for the final glory as they have consistently qualified for playoff every year they have played. Just like unusual circumstances across the globe due to pandemic, there was also an unusual event in IPL 2020. CSK went through a nightmare campaign and finished last in the table.
With hopes of getting back to the top in IPL 2021, CSK decided to make some big changes to the squad. They released many expensive underperformers from last campaign such as Kedar Jadhav and Piyush Chawla. Harbhajan Singh also left the franchise after missing IPL 2020 for personal reasons, while Shane Watson retired from cricket.
The franchise took the 35-year-old Robin Uthappa in a trade from Rajasthan. Uthappa is well known for his attacking batting against both spin and pace, so he could be a smart acquisition for the next season.
CSK had a purse of Rs 19.90 crores going into the auction, so there were not going to be many big money signings. Most of the money went into filling the one overseas slot, while rest of the money went for an uncapped Indian player in Krishnappa Gowtham. With a small purse, CSK management managed to plug holes in the squad.
Getting an explosive all-rounder that can bowl on Indian pitch was the priority. They went toe to toe with Royal Challengers Bangalore for Glenn Maxwell, but lack of funds stopped them from signing the enigmatic Australian all-rounder. They managed to fill that all-rounder spot by getting Moeen Ali for Rs 7 crores. Ali could play the role of Watson in the CSK squad. He can be used as opener if needed, but Ali can definitely come up with explosive knocks down the order.
Apart from solidifying their middle-order, CSK also improved the bench strength by adding promising domestic players. They managed to land C Hari Nishanth for base fee. The opening batsman has established himself in domestic cricket with his good performances for Tamil Nadu. He played a big role along with another CSK player Narayan Jagadeesan in Tamil Nadu’s recent triumph in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. They added depth to Indian bowling options by signing Harishankar Reddy and Bhagat Varma.
Cheteshwar Pujara was the biggest surprise pick by CSK. The prolific Indian test batsman returns to IPL after seven years. He is a remarkable test player, but struggled to deliver similar performances at test level. With more experience under his belt, Pujara may show different side to his game during IPL. He scored T-20 century for Saurashtra during Syed Mustaq Ali Tournament in 2019, so CSK will be hoping that his experience can help them in the batting department. He was signed for base fee worth Rs 50 lakhs, making it a low risk-high reward signing.
CSK have filled all the required voids by bringing in players best suited for the M. A. Chidambaram conditions to finally lead them towards their fourth IPL title. Even if games are not played in Chepauk, CSK has decent options to do well in Indian condition.
Here’s our predicted playing XI of CSK:
- Robin Uthappa
- Faf Du Plessis
- Suresh Raina
- Ambati Rayudu
- MS Dhoni
- Ravindra Jadeja
- Moeen Ali
- Krishnappa Gowtham
- Sam Curran
- Deepak Chahar
- Josh Hazlewood