The Indian Premier League is just weeks away. The competition became more anticipated with the return of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. The Chennai Super Kings is one of the strongest teams with two title victories. On the other hand, Gujarat Lions and Pune Supergiants are out of the competition. Chennai Super Kings franchise will be led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The franchise retained Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja in the auction. With the big guns like Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Mark Wood and Murali Vijay are about to play for the franchise. Even with all the above traits, we cannot say that CSK will be the champion side. In addition to missing out star players like Andrew Tye and Chris Woakes, there are some hurdles for the team to lift the title again.
- Lack of Consistency in Indian Pacers
Cricket may be a batsman game, but bowlers are the pillars for the championship. Pacers play a crucial role in picking up the wickets during death overs and power plays. This is the pivotal point when you consider short cricket. Due to the restrictions on the number of foreign players in the franchise, Indian players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Umesh Yadav played the key role in the victory of their franchises.
Chennai SuperKings lack stability in the pace bowling department. With inexperienced players like Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar, depending on foreign seamers is inevitable. So, the team’s victory on bouncy pitches is doubtful.
- Over-dependence on spinners
Spin may win the match but over-dependence on spinners may disturb the balance of the team. Though the medium pacers used to play a vital role in the team composition of every international team, the destiny of spinners is in transition in the recent past. Though the team has five quality spinners like Santner, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja and Karn Sharma, this will be a drawback on fast pitches like Wankhede and Chinnasami stadium. On the other hand, the home ground Chepauk Stadium supports spinners.
Cricket is the game of uncertainty and T20 format is not an exemption for this statement. Most of the franchises used to invest in match-winners like Lasith Malinga, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine and Rashid Khan. The franchise failed to buy such players with that match-winning spark. Batsmen like Chris Lynn, Jos Buttler, and David Warner can change the result of the game batting at any place. Chennai Super Kings failed to grab the player with that X-factor in the current edition. Though they have players with potential like Suresh Raina, Faf Du Plessis, and Kedar Jadhav, they lack the mystery factor for victory.
- Diminishing Strike Rate of Dhoni
Dhoni is undoubtedly a formidable player. But his strike rate is falling down with the season to season. His strike rate was above 143 in 2013 and in 2017 it is 116. In 2017, he missed out many chances to stand as the match-winner. Some of his poor performances are 54 off 114 balls. Out of 16 matches, he scored only 15 boundaries and 16 sixes. He has a strike rate of 84 in the T20I series against South Africa and he was in poor form from the South African tour. This seems a hurdle to his capability as a match-winner.
- Lack of young talent
Chennai Super Kings failed to accommodate fresh talent in the team. Most of the key players in the team are veteran cricketers like Harbhajan Singh. 10 players out of 25 in the squad are above the age of 30. Though players like Chris Gayle, Ashish Nehra, and Brad Hodge played the short cricket up to the age of 40, the chances of winning the game reduce if the average age of the team is above 30. The fitness issues will be more in such instances. As Kedar Jadhav and Faf Du Plessis were out of the South African tour in the middle, their fitness will be the major point of discussion. The CSK team lacks the balance in this context with only a few weeks for the commencement of the tournament.