IPL 2014 April 30, 2014

Super Kings: squeezing the best out of the best

24

Chennai Super Kings have been the team to beat for six years now. There are probably a number of things that make them tick and it would therefore be unfair put down their success to one single factor. However, it is undeniable that the management's ability to extract the best from its players is one of the major reasons for the team's success. Apart from motivating lesser known players like Manpreet Gony and Shadab Jakati to punch above their weight, Super Kings have also been able to ensure that their international stars deliver.

The fact that this is not merely a case of giving the management undue credit becomes clear when we see that these same foreign players have not performed at the same level while playing for other franchises. Michael Hussey had been the back bone of Chennai's batting for a couple of years, but now appears a shadow of that player with Mumbai Indians. While age might have something to do with Hussey's decline, that can't be the case with Albie Morkel. He had come in lower down the order and delivered many a knockout punch for Super Kings, but Royal Challengers Bangalore don't seem to have discovered (yet) how to best utilise Morkel. Below are performances of some international batsmen for Super Kings, who have played for other franchises as well. Apart from these batsmen, Super Kings have also had players like Matthew Hayden and Faf du Plessis who have done well for the team but not played for other franchises.

Dwayne Bravo, on the other hand, has scored three half-centuries for other teams (Mumbai Indians) but none for Super Kings - that probably only tells us that Super Kings' top order has usually ensured that he does not have to be pressed into service early in the innings. His strike rate and average are still significantly better when he plays for Super Kings.

Performance of foreign batsmen for Chennai
Player Innings Runs Average Strike rate 50+ scores
MEK Hussey 45 1691 44.50 124.33 13
JA Morkel 59 827 23.62 144.83 2
DJ Bravo 31 511 30.05 134.82 0
DR Smith 6 256 42.66 143.82 3
BB McCullum 6 249 49.80 130.36 3

Performance of Chennai's foreign batsmen for other franchises
Player Innings Runs Average Strike rate 50+ scores
MEK Hussey 4 30 7.50 56.50 0
JA Morkel 3 28 14.00 87.50 0
DJ Bravo 25 457 21.76 117.17 3
DR Smith 33 857 29.55 134.67 5
BB McCullum 48 1239 28.15 123.00 6

A look at the bowlers now, and the balance that Bravo and Morkel have lent to the side is well documented. In fact, Morkel is Super Kings' highest wicket taker. A couple of bowlers mentioned in the table below have not played for any other IPL team. So, while their performance for Super Kings cannot be pitted against their performance for other teams, it was necessary to include them in this analysis because their impact for the team has been immense. Chennai had lost five of their first seven games in the 2010 season, when Doug Bollinger was drafted into the side in place of the injured Jacob Oram. Chennai had lacked a genuine strike bowler in the tournament up until that point and Bollinger came in and made an impact straight away by picking up 12 wickets from eight games at a miserly economy rate of 6.67. Bollinger's stint with Super Kings ended after three seasons, and Ben Hilfenhaus has ably filled his shoes ever since. The table below shows that both Hilfenhaus and Bollinger have almost identical numbers while playing for Super Kings.

Performance of Chennai's foreign bowlers
Player Innings Overs Wickets Average Economy rate Strike rate
JA Morkel 75 254.1 76 27.07 8.09 20.0
DJ Bravo 42 140.1 53 21.05 7.96 15.8
M Muralitharan 40 156.0 40 24.85 6.37 23.4
JDP Oram 11 31.3 8 35.25 8.95 23.6
DE Bollinger 27 96.0 37 18.72 7.21 15.5
BW Hilfenhaus 14 51.0 20 18.55 7.27 15.3

Performance of Chennai's foreign bowlers for other franchises
Player Innings Overs Wickets Average Economy rate Strike rate
JA Morkel 4 10 3 28.66 8.60 20.0
DJ Bravo 30 87.5 26 27.65 8.18 20.3
M Muralitharan
22 84 20 30.15 7.17 25.2
JDP Oram 3 8 1 67.00 8.37 48.0

While some of these players have played a bulk of their matches for Super Kings and only a small number of games for other franchises, the fact that all of them have done better for the Chennai outfit must provide some indication of its superior player management - this is best demonstrated by Bravo, who has played a similar number of games for other teams as he has for Super Kings.

Super Kings have of course been fortunate to always have some of the best international talent within their ranks. Still, the captain, coach and management probably do deserve some credit for ensuring these big names performed to potential.

Bishen Jeswant is a stats sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on May 7, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    This is not just statistics but also the man management by the support staffs who played along the players to motivate and make them fit and good enough to provide a good sportsmanship in all their games. kudos Flemming and Dhoni and co for providing a great team in aspects of game as well as entertainment. I hope CSK will do better and better as IPL goes on.

  • on May 7, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    The contribution of Steven Fleming cannot be underestimated.You have to appreciate how consistent CSK have been over the years or is so that chennai buy players who are in form .The team work good as it well managed and all the players contribute their best . The important part is that credit goes to Captain Cool, his hardwork pays is also reflected in the Indian team as well. They let the players play naturally without any modification.

  • ajay_t_g on May 7, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Its not just abt the foreign, look at the solid Indian talent that CSK has. CSK hasn't been behind big players to build the squad like MI. Look at their players - Raina was not even in the 2007 T20 squad when he was picked up in auction, Ashwin & Vijay were nobody then, Badri was forever looking for a chance to make an impact, Mohit Sharma/ Gony/Jakati were not even known. Its just CSK developed these players and today almost all CSK players have represented India at the highest level. Dhoni was the only base around whom this team was built..

  • Karthik78 on May 6, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    CSK is a very good example for Mgmt Studies. Very good team starts with very good leader, perhaps good players are needed. But in current cricket scenario, there is no short of talents, but really short of good leaders. Same case applies to any field. Dhoni is the real hero of this success while Fleming and other staff also play significant role in this. I am really looking for some documentary film on this team, which will help many to learn leadership qualities.

  • CricketMaan on May 6, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    So why is MSD so successful in short formats? How is he able to managed such strong working relationship with the coaches? Sure SRTs, Dravids and many more had an impact on Indian cricket.. but what an impact MSD's exit is gonna be on Indian cricket. they say men may come and men may go, but the show goes on! will it after MSD? Kholi will or has arleady filled the superstart spot, but can he fill MSD's leadership spot? unfair to compare, but MSD has created a unique brand in world cricket. But for the choke in WT20 2014, it was a spotless campaign. I often wonder is it just the lack of resources or MSD himself that his Test record as a captain is so poor?

  • Pavinasen on May 6, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    Enjor CSK, the Man United of cricket.What impresses me the most about CSK is their ability to read the game and make changes thinking on their feet.They have a born leader , and excellent management,They are also well behaved ,as the fair play award table suggests.Even if every player is paid 2.5 M dollars,they all will have earned it.To top it all they are producing the future national team.

  • on May 6, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    MSD is the fulcrum and heartbeat around which CSK revolves. He is an impact player and is a reassuring, cool and composed captain. He gives crucial & vital inputs to foreign and local players and always ensure they perform at their best and are motivated to the hilt. In fact they feel proud they they are playing for CSK.

  • rajuramki on May 6, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    There is a long standing belief that Chennai is one city which makes every one feel at home . More so when new comers come in . CSK is just confirming this belief by making all players feel at home . Otherwise, there is no reason for every new member to perform so crditably . The franchise,the coach,the captain and the support staff give lot of freedom to the players . Further,defeats are taken as a natural happening and ther has never been any blame games. It is hard ti find another team that has gelled as well as CSK . I am sure such comraderie will extend beyond boundaries and the players will show a lot of warmth to each other even when they meet elsewhere as opponents . CSK will again be the team to beat this season .

  • Shridharan.S on May 6, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    Baba Aparajith needs to be given a chance. It is bcoz of the opening stand of Baz and Smith that has put Chennai in a formidable position.They lay the platform for big hitters to finish the innings. Even though CSK needed 10 of the last over yesterday vs DD at the Kotla, they had 8 wickets in hand and everything was under control. Even if MSD had got out, Raina would have finished it though. Credit goes to Fleming as well for purchasing well during the auctions. I think CSK could have got one more solid Indian Batsman to fill the slot held by Manhas.

  • seemandhra on May 6, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    as long as Dhoni stays with CSK these things repeat

  • on May 7, 2014, 13:47 GMT

    This is not just statistics but also the man management by the support staffs who played along the players to motivate and make them fit and good enough to provide a good sportsmanship in all their games. kudos Flemming and Dhoni and co for providing a great team in aspects of game as well as entertainment. I hope CSK will do better and better as IPL goes on.

  • on May 7, 2014, 5:47 GMT

    The contribution of Steven Fleming cannot be underestimated.You have to appreciate how consistent CSK have been over the years or is so that chennai buy players who are in form .The team work good as it well managed and all the players contribute their best . The important part is that credit goes to Captain Cool, his hardwork pays is also reflected in the Indian team as well. They let the players play naturally without any modification.

  • ajay_t_g on May 7, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Its not just abt the foreign, look at the solid Indian talent that CSK has. CSK hasn't been behind big players to build the squad like MI. Look at their players - Raina was not even in the 2007 T20 squad when he was picked up in auction, Ashwin & Vijay were nobody then, Badri was forever looking for a chance to make an impact, Mohit Sharma/ Gony/Jakati were not even known. Its just CSK developed these players and today almost all CSK players have represented India at the highest level. Dhoni was the only base around whom this team was built..

  • Karthik78 on May 6, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    CSK is a very good example for Mgmt Studies. Very good team starts with very good leader, perhaps good players are needed. But in current cricket scenario, there is no short of talents, but really short of good leaders. Same case applies to any field. Dhoni is the real hero of this success while Fleming and other staff also play significant role in this. I am really looking for some documentary film on this team, which will help many to learn leadership qualities.

  • CricketMaan on May 6, 2014, 13:05 GMT

    So why is MSD so successful in short formats? How is he able to managed such strong working relationship with the coaches? Sure SRTs, Dravids and many more had an impact on Indian cricket.. but what an impact MSD's exit is gonna be on Indian cricket. they say men may come and men may go, but the show goes on! will it after MSD? Kholi will or has arleady filled the superstart spot, but can he fill MSD's leadership spot? unfair to compare, but MSD has created a unique brand in world cricket. But for the choke in WT20 2014, it was a spotless campaign. I often wonder is it just the lack of resources or MSD himself that his Test record as a captain is so poor?

  • Pavinasen on May 6, 2014, 9:17 GMT

    Enjor CSK, the Man United of cricket.What impresses me the most about CSK is their ability to read the game and make changes thinking on their feet.They have a born leader , and excellent management,They are also well behaved ,as the fair play award table suggests.Even if every player is paid 2.5 M dollars,they all will have earned it.To top it all they are producing the future national team.

  • on May 6, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    MSD is the fulcrum and heartbeat around which CSK revolves. He is an impact player and is a reassuring, cool and composed captain. He gives crucial & vital inputs to foreign and local players and always ensure they perform at their best and are motivated to the hilt. In fact they feel proud they they are playing for CSK.

  • rajuramki on May 6, 2014, 8:49 GMT

    There is a long standing belief that Chennai is one city which makes every one feel at home . More so when new comers come in . CSK is just confirming this belief by making all players feel at home . Otherwise, there is no reason for every new member to perform so crditably . The franchise,the coach,the captain and the support staff give lot of freedom to the players . Further,defeats are taken as a natural happening and ther has never been any blame games. It is hard ti find another team that has gelled as well as CSK . I am sure such comraderie will extend beyond boundaries and the players will show a lot of warmth to each other even when they meet elsewhere as opponents . CSK will again be the team to beat this season .

  • Shridharan.S on May 6, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    Baba Aparajith needs to be given a chance. It is bcoz of the opening stand of Baz and Smith that has put Chennai in a formidable position.They lay the platform for big hitters to finish the innings. Even though CSK needed 10 of the last over yesterday vs DD at the Kotla, they had 8 wickets in hand and everything was under control. Even if MSD had got out, Raina would have finished it though. Credit goes to Fleming as well for purchasing well during the auctions. I think CSK could have got one more solid Indian Batsman to fill the slot held by Manhas.

  • seemandhra on May 6, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    as long as Dhoni stays with CSK these things repeat

  • Siva_Bala75 on May 6, 2014, 2:10 GMT

    CSK/ Dhoni/ Fleming have a broad plan and leave enough personal space to the individuals to execute them. They don't micro manage. During those strategic time outs, it is nice to see Fleming listening more than doing the talking. Lastly, the management and more importantly the fans are ready to accept failures. Actually this is a good candidate for research thesis in the Management institutes.

  • on May 6, 2014, 1:49 GMT

    Think of Mumbai Indians. They have expert for everything. Ricky Ponting and Sachin for batting. Jonty for fielding and other supporting staff. Having so many supporting staff and experts can clutter the mind of even experienced international players. Chennai keeps it simple. Concentrate on basics and perform. The results will take of itself. This is the moto of Dhoni. Which ever team he is part of, he is able to motivate the team to perform above expectation. This is same when he captains India also.While the players have performed outstandingly, there is no denying the fact that there is some X factor associated with this man Dhoni which motivates everyone in the team to give their best. Such people are born leaders. They don't come every now and then. Enjoy the success as long as he is there. When he retires, we may go head long down as the Asia cup suggested. No Dhoni and we did not even reach finals.

  • on May 6, 2014, 1:14 GMT

    The contribution of Steven Fleming cannot be underestimated. Is CSK the only franchise who have had the same coach from the start? You have to appreciate how consistent CSK have been over the years!

  • csekartik on May 6, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    ODI_BestFormOfCricket .. I am pretty sure that Aparjith will get chance soon... We have seen it with Dhoni.... he makes newcomers wait and wait for long.... and when they come in they perform... This has happened with Ishwar Pandey as well. Even at International Level he does the same thing. Keep belief in him !!! Somehow Dravid has been able to do it from day 1 but not Dhoni... 2 different strategies but both work !!! But CSK has 100% record of making playoffs vs RR not as consistent. Aparjith is not getting old soon so not a big issue !!!

  • BigINDFan on May 5, 2014, 21:18 GMT

    Well the main reason is that unlike teams like MI, CSK does not just run after the flavor of the season players and then line their support staff with legends giving advice. CSK has persisted with the same coach and staff and developed players to deliver to their plan. The other thing is MSD is really effective when it comes to limited overs format like T20. He is terrible in tests but in IPL and international games in shorter format he excels as a finisher and captain. I would say CSK's best team is in IPL 2014 since they finally have really strong openers who can take the game away in the first 10-12 overs. While Hussey and Vijay did a great job, Baz and Smith are simply too good and CSK has given them full freedom to express themselves at the top of the order.

  • iceaxe on May 5, 2014, 20:52 GMT

    Get yer stats right...

    Performance of foreign batsmen for Chennai Smith & McCullum have both played 6 matches each, Smith making 7 runs more than McCullum, but McCullum has a higher batting average (49.80) than Smith (42.66) !!!!!!

  • on May 5, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    @ODI_Bestfromofcricket Really is Mohit Sharma old ? Is Ishwar Pandey old ? If you remember correctly Raina was back into Indian team after playing for CSK only because CSK gave him chance. Ashwin was found by CSK. Chennai like that has given chance to many young players like Gony, Anirudha, Jakati, Vidyut, Badri etc etc.

    Coming to RR. Is Tambe young ?And what about Unmukt Chand ?

  • cricketlover80 on May 5, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Its all MS Dhoni Magic. CSK wont be the same once Dhoni leaves it.

  • Chris.Maverick.McFly on May 5, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    CSK is the only team where the players play their natural game and enjoy the game as a team. They win as a team and even in their defeats they fail as a team. Much credit goes to Cap.Cool, as this reflects the same in the Indian team as well.

    Again the local crowd supports them well no matter where they play. Team bonding is the most important thing when you play games like these and this applies to all the fields and activities which involves a team.

    Chennai players get bonded well, they are happy .. they have been let to do whatever they want to do. Look at Bravo's dance each and everytime he takes a catch .. I miss it very badly this season though... :(

    They play with their hearts not just with their minds alone.

    At last a very good article and analysis, infact came at the right point of time. Thank you sir.

    Chennai da ... Chennai da ..... Chennai da...... CSK ku whistle podu mame !!!

  • on May 5, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    And one thing to note with Bravo is that he has the Economy Rate while bowling his quota mostly at the death..MS always used him to bowl at least 3 overs straight at the death..I shudder to think of Jadeja and the new crop of Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey etc under the other Indian Captains..

  • AllwinJ on May 5, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    Well, Dhoni, Raina, Sir, Bravo , Mohit, Faf are all Machans of Chenmai. We will support CSK even if baba is not there in the team. The main difference between CSK and other teams is that CSK is the only team that has a an owner who understands cricket.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 5, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    i am really frustrating that CSK didnot give chance to young APARJITH. CSK has a spot for older manahas but not for younger players. This where rahul dravid far ahead of dhoni, dravid identifying and supporting young talents. And also local fans needs reason to connect with team ie.. atleast 2 local players should play in their city based team. CSK let badrinath and not including another local player in team. If this trend continues in all ipl teams then fans interest in ipl will diminish bcz local fan has no reason to connect with their city based team.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 5, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    i am really frustrating that CSK didnot give chance to young APARJITH. CSK has a spot for older manhas but not for younger player. This where rahul dravid far ahead of dhoni, dravid identifying and supporting young talents. And also local fans needs reason to connect with team ie.. atleast 2 local players should play in their city based team. CSK let badrinath and not including another local player in playin 11. If this trend continues in all ipl teams then fans interest in ipl will diminish bcz local fan has no reason to connect with their city based team.

  • ladycricfan on May 5, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    Nice article. As Ashwin said in an interview, CSK management don't do much team-talks. They train the players hard. Looks after their fitness. Then let the players play their natural game which brought them success in their careers. Sound simple. Too much input from other experts might confuse the players.

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  • ladycricfan on May 5, 2014, 10:27 GMT

    Nice article. As Ashwin said in an interview, CSK management don't do much team-talks. They train the players hard. Looks after their fitness. Then let the players play their natural game which brought them success in their careers. Sound simple. Too much input from other experts might confuse the players.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 5, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    i am really frustrating that CSK didnot give chance to young APARJITH. CSK has a spot for older manhas but not for younger player. This where rahul dravid far ahead of dhoni, dravid identifying and supporting young talents. And also local fans needs reason to connect with team ie.. atleast 2 local players should play in their city based team. CSK let badrinath and not including another local player in playin 11. If this trend continues in all ipl teams then fans interest in ipl will diminish bcz local fan has no reason to connect with their city based team.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on May 5, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    i am really frustrating that CSK didnot give chance to young APARJITH. CSK has a spot for older manahas but not for younger players. This where rahul dravid far ahead of dhoni, dravid identifying and supporting young talents. And also local fans needs reason to connect with team ie.. atleast 2 local players should play in their city based team. CSK let badrinath and not including another local player in team. If this trend continues in all ipl teams then fans interest in ipl will diminish bcz local fan has no reason to connect with their city based team.

  • AllwinJ on May 5, 2014, 17:12 GMT

    Well, Dhoni, Raina, Sir, Bravo , Mohit, Faf are all Machans of Chenmai. We will support CSK even if baba is not there in the team. The main difference between CSK and other teams is that CSK is the only team that has a an owner who understands cricket.

  • on May 5, 2014, 18:40 GMT

    And one thing to note with Bravo is that he has the Economy Rate while bowling his quota mostly at the death..MS always used him to bowl at least 3 overs straight at the death..I shudder to think of Jadeja and the new crop of Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey etc under the other Indian Captains..

  • Chris.Maverick.McFly on May 5, 2014, 18:58 GMT

    CSK is the only team where the players play their natural game and enjoy the game as a team. They win as a team and even in their defeats they fail as a team. Much credit goes to Cap.Cool, as this reflects the same in the Indian team as well.

    Again the local crowd supports them well no matter where they play. Team bonding is the most important thing when you play games like these and this applies to all the fields and activities which involves a team.

    Chennai players get bonded well, they are happy .. they have been let to do whatever they want to do. Look at Bravo's dance each and everytime he takes a catch .. I miss it very badly this season though... :(

    They play with their hearts not just with their minds alone.

    At last a very good article and analysis, infact came at the right point of time. Thank you sir.

    Chennai da ... Chennai da ..... Chennai da...... CSK ku whistle podu mame !!!

  • cricketlover80 on May 5, 2014, 19:49 GMT

    Its all MS Dhoni Magic. CSK wont be the same once Dhoni leaves it.

  • on May 5, 2014, 20:19 GMT

    @ODI_Bestfromofcricket Really is Mohit Sharma old ? Is Ishwar Pandey old ? If you remember correctly Raina was back into Indian team after playing for CSK only because CSK gave him chance. Ashwin was found by CSK. Chennai like that has given chance to many young players like Gony, Anirudha, Jakati, Vidyut, Badri etc etc.

    Coming to RR. Is Tambe young ?And what about Unmukt Chand ?

  • iceaxe on May 5, 2014, 20:52 GMT

    Get yer stats right...

    Performance of foreign batsmen for Chennai Smith & McCullum have both played 6 matches each, Smith making 7 runs more than McCullum, but McCullum has a higher batting average (49.80) than Smith (42.66) !!!!!!

  • BigINDFan on May 5, 2014, 21:18 GMT

    Well the main reason is that unlike teams like MI, CSK does not just run after the flavor of the season players and then line their support staff with legends giving advice. CSK has persisted with the same coach and staff and developed players to deliver to their plan. The other thing is MSD is really effective when it comes to limited overs format like T20. He is terrible in tests but in IPL and international games in shorter format he excels as a finisher and captain. I would say CSK's best team is in IPL 2014 since they finally have really strong openers who can take the game away in the first 10-12 overs. While Hussey and Vijay did a great job, Baz and Smith are simply too good and CSK has given them full freedom to express themselves at the top of the order.