Chennai Super Kings 2014: Squad, Auction Deals, Captain, Probable Team
The much-anticipated seventh season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) finally gets underway in both the United Arab Emirates and India, starting on 16 April, and we now take an in-depth look at the Chennai Super Kings and just how the franchise may fare this year.
So here is everything you need to know about the 2010 and 2011 IPL winners…
Batsmen: Faf du Plessis, Mithun Manhas, Suresh Raina (retained)
All-rounders: Dwayne Smith, John Hastings, Vijay Shankar, Baba Aparajith, Dwayne Bravo (retained), Ravindra Jadeja (retained)
Wicketkeeper-batsmen: Brendon McCullum, MS Dhoni (retained)
Spinners: Samuel Badree, Pawan Negi, R Ashwin (retained)
Fast bowlers: Mohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Ishwar Pandey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Matt Henry, Ronit More
Batsmen: Faf du Plessis (INR 4.75 crore), Mithun Manhas (INR 30 lakh), Suresh Raina (retained)
All-rounders: Dwayne Smith (INR 4.5 crore), John Hastings (INR 50 lakh), Vijay Shankar (INR 10 lakh), Baba Aparajith (INR 10 lakh), Dwayne Bravo (retained), Ravindra Jadeja (retained)
Wicketkeeper-batsmen: Brendon McCullum (INR 3.25 crore), MS Dhoni (retained)
Spinners: Samuel Badree (INR 30 lakh), Pawan Negi (INR 10 lakh), R Ashwin (retained)
Fast bowlers: Mohit Sharma (INR 2 crore), Ashish Nehra (INR 2 crore), Ishwar Pandey (INR 1.5 crore), Ben Hilfenhaus (INR 1 crore), Matt Henry (INR 30 lakh), Ronit More (INR 10 lakh)
Rating Their Business
On the plus side, Chennai have managed to keep hold of the majority of the star players who have helped the franchise reach the final of IPL in each of the past two seasons, including the likes of Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin.
If you also add on new signings of the calibre of Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, as well as West Indian leg-spinner Samuel Badree, then you can see just why many experts believe the Super Kings will make it a case of third time lucky this time around after being runners-up in each of the previous two competitions.
However, if there is one obvious area of weakness in their squad this year, then it is their meagre fast-bowling resources, with the Chennai-based franchise having just added the likes of Mohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Ishwar Pandey and Ben Hilfenhaus.
Overall batting strength: A
Overall bowling strength: B -
Inspirational Chennai skipper MS Dhoni has a hugely impressive record as leader of the franchise, having guided the Super Kings to back-to-back triumphs in the competition in 2009 and 2010, while the 32-year-old was also at the helm when his side were runners-up in each of the last two years.
Overall in the tournament, the wicketkeeper-batsman has scored 2,244 runs in 96 matches at an impressive average of 38 and strike-rate of 141, with a highest score of 70 not out, during which time he has also hit an incredible 169 fours and 89 sixes.
The stumper has been captaining his county since he first took charge of the Twenty20 team for the inaugural World Cup in 2007, a tournament which he led India to victory in. Dhoni repeated this feat four years later in the 50-over World Cup on home soil, and then again last summer in the International Cricket Council Champions Trophy.
Captaincy strength: A+
With such a wide range of talent to choose from, the management is likely to have a tough time picking the team. Here is what we think the starting XI will be:
Brendon McCullum, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Baba Aparajith, Dwayne Bravo, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Ben Hilfenhaus.
Prediction for the Tournament
Having managed to keep the core of the side that has done so well in managing to reach the final of the competition for the last four years in a row, Chennai will undoubtedly begin this year’s IPL as one of, if not, the favourites to claim a third title under MS Dhoni’s inspired leadership.
When you also take into account the new players that the Super Kings picked up in the auction, especially the likes of Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, and their unrivalled strength in depth across the whole squad, then it is hard to look much past them as likely winners this time around.
The one area of weakness could possibly be in their fast-bowling department. But on the spin-friendly surfaces of both the UAE and India, ultimately that should not end up hindering the franchise’s chances of making it a case of third time lucky come the final on their home ground at the Wankhede Stadium on 1 June.