IPL 2014 April 30, 2014

Super Kings: squeezing the best out of the best

A look at how Chennai Super Kings' overseas players have added immense value to the team

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

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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 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..

  • Karthikeyan 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.

  • Sriram 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?

  • Logan 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Venkat 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 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.

  • rahul on May 6, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    as long as Dhoni stays with CSK these things repeat

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