Two-time IPL champions and only team to defend their title, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will be making their much-awaited comeback into the IPL fold in IPL 11.
The first thing Chennai Super Kings team management did on return was to secure the services of their thalaiva MS Dhoni, who will once again wear the yellow jersey and lead the CSK team. Along with MS Dhoni, CSK also retained Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja. However, they decided to let go of the local boy R Ashwin, in favor of Jadeja.
During the auction, they retained the services of Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis using the RTM cards. Apart from these players, CSK also bought Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson, M Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir and young sensations like Mark Wood, Lungi Ngidi and Sam Billings amongst others.
Chennai will also play the IPL 11 opening match against Mumbai Indians on April 7 at the Wankhede Stadium.
Here are 5 players on whom CSK will depend to get back into their old winning ways:
Chennai Super Kings decided to retain Ravindra Jadeja over R Ashwin in pre-auction player retention before the IPL 2018 auction. This raised many eyebrows in the city of Chennai, from where Ashwin hails from.
However, Jadeja was chosen for being more impactful than Ashwin, when it comes to true all-rounder capabilities in the T20 format. Dhoni talked of giving Jadeja a more batting heavy role this season and his record of 1732 runs and 82 wickets in 138 IPL matches speaks for itself.
Jadeja has been extremely effective when it comes to keeping the run flow low during the middle overs and Dhoni will want him to continue doing what he has done for them in the past.
Shane Watson was released by RCB after a pathetic 2017 IPL season and before his former franchise Rajasthan Royals could usurp him, CSK bid higher for Watson and got him in the auction for Rs 4 cr.
Watson has played 102 matches in IPL so far. He has scored 2622 runs and took 86 wickets. Regarded as one of the best all-rounders in the IPL, Watson has also led the RR and RCB teams and has played the leadership role in every team he has been.
Despite retiring from the international game in 2016, Watson has kept himself busy by playing in every T20 league possible and will be an asset to CSK and MS Dhoni.
Dwayne Bravo returns to his home in CSK after missing the IPL 2017 due to his hamstring injury. Bravo was retained by CSK using the RTM card and getting him back proved that CSK has got most of their core players in the IPL 11.
Dwayne Bravo is the only bowler to win the Purple cap for most wickets twice in a row. He has played 106 matches and scored 1238 runs and picked 122 wickets in the league. Bravo was the first bowler to pick up 400 wickets in T20 format and him getting fit will prove to be a brilliant asset for CSK.
MS Dhoni used Bravo as an effective death overs bowler and Bravo usually repaid the faith back in kind, often picking wickets and keeping the runs down. He has often batted at the top of the order and even as a hitter in the innings. He will be one of the premier weapons of Dhoni’s arsenal in IPL 11.
Chennai Super Kings also retained their deputy Suresh Raina before the IPL 2018 auctions. Suresh Raina has played the most games in IPL and has scored the most runs in the league as well. He currently sits at 4540 runs in 161 matches in IPL.
He was a CSK mainstay from 2008-2015 and scored over 400 runs in every season up to 2014 IPL. He then captained the Gujarat Lions and scored 399 and 442 runs respectively in the two seasons. One of the greatest no.3 batsmen in T20 format, Raina will be responsible for giving the team the required momentum to get a big score.
Raina is capable of hitting the big shots from ball one and this makes him stand apart from other batsmen in the IPL.
The ‘thalaiva’ is back in Chennai. MS Dhoni is adored in the city of Chennai and it has become his adopted hometown in India. As the return of CSK and RR was confirmed after an absence of two years in IPL, speculations became rife whether MS Dhoni would be put back into the auctions or will CSK retain him.
Though other teams wanted Dhoni back in the auction pool; CSK fought tooth and nail and got him back into the team via retention. Dhoni formerly played for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2016 and 2017, captaining them in IPL 2016.
Dhoni has played 159 matches in the IPL and scored 3561 runs with 17 fifties. He has also taken CSK into the playoffs of the IPL from 2008-2015 and won the IPL in 2010 and 2011, making him the only captain to defend his IPL title.
With Dhoni back in the yellow jersey, CSK will receive tremendous support when Dhoni leads the team out in the IPL 11 opening match against Mumbai Indians, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 7, 2018.