Champions League 2013 September 20, 2013

Super Kings look to turn focus back on cricket

  shares 26

Overview
Chennai Super Kings finished runners-up in IPL 2013, having lost to Mumbai Indians in the final. They might not be the current IPL champions, but they have consistently been the team to beat in the competition. Five times in six IPLs they've made the final, they've won the title twice - in 2010 and 2011 - and took home the Champions League T20 title in 2010.

The team comes into this tournament with off-field controversy hanging heavily about them. News of one of their top officials Gurunath Meiyappan being arrested for alleged betting - which is illegal in India - broke a week before the IPL 2013 final, and he has been chargesheeted on the eve of the team's first CLT20 game*. Gurunath is the son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, and his arrest raked up the longstanding conflict of interest questions over the board president also being managing director of the company - India Cements - that owns Super Kings. MS Dhoni too had conflict of interest queries thrown his way, after it was learnt he temporarily owned shares in a player-management company that looked after the financial interests of his India and Super Kings' team-mates, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.

On the upside, Super Kings' line-up is one of the strongest around in T20 cricket. They have ever-dependable batsmen in Michael Hussey and S Badrinath, big-hitters in Dwayne Bravo and Albie Morkel, and a combination of the two in Dhoni and Raina. Hussey and Bravo topped the batting and bowling charts in IPL 2013. In the spin department they have India's leading spinner across formats, R Ashwin, and the current No. 1 bowler in ODI cricket, Jadeja. Previously, pace bowling was a bit of a weakness, but they beefed up their attack in the lead-up to IPL 2013, signing lesser known but testing bowlers Chris Morris, Jason Holder and Mohit Sharma.

Super Kings will be keen on doing well for another reason. They have had by far the most settled squad in the IPL - Dhoni, Raina, Hussey, Ashwin, Morkel and Badrinath, among others, have all been with the franchise since its inception in 2008. In February, the squad - or most of it - is likely to be disbanded; as per the IPL regulations all players are supposed to go back into the auction in 2014. Given the possibility of this being the last tournament this bunch plays together, and the camaraderie that has built up over the seasons, they'll be eager to end on a high.

Super Kings will not play any matches at home, at Chepauk, but that's not to say they won't be treated like the home team: three of their four group games will be in Ranchi, Dhoni's hometown.

Key players
As they have been for years now, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin will be the cornerstones on which Super Kings' campaign is built. Dhoni's stats for Super Kings are solid - he has 2488 runs at a strike-rate nudging 140, and only two ducks in 97 innings for the team - but it is his temperament that is most prized. How many times has he "taken it late" and, despite it getting to a point when the chase seems beyond the team, delivered with an almost unnatural calm? Suresh Raina is the only player to have featured in every single one of his IPL franchise's games so far, scoring 3189 runs in 113 matches, while R Ashwin's economy rate of 6.53 is the best among all IPL bowlers who've sent down 150 overs or more for one franchise.

Surprise package
Given Super Kings' line-up has remained largely the same over the seasons, the team rarely fields untested performers. In IPL 2013, though, they did have two new faces: pace bowlers Mohit Sharma and Chris Morris. Both proved to be highly effective and featured regularly in the eleven, and have since gone on to represent their countries in ODIs. Mohit was even named Man of the Match on international debut.

Weakness
It's hard to pinpoint on-field weaknesses in Super Kings' line-up. Their biggest challenge could be putting the off-field controversies that have recently plagued the franchise out of their minds. Following their deflated showing in the IPL 2013 final, coach Stephen Fleming said the team had "been through a lot and didn't respond well". They've had more than enough time for the initial shock of Gurunath's arrest to wear off, but the controversy still rages on. They can't afford to let it distract them once again.

*12.30GMT, September 21: The preview has been updated after Gurunath Meiyappan was chargesheeted

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY murillo on | September 22, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    I wonder why controversies are created - through accusations, charge sheeting etc. - on the eve of CSK matches? Last time it was when CSK was about to play the final of IPL2013, and now when they are about to play their first match in CLT-T20.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | September 21, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    CLT20 is a club tournament. As in other club sports, it is the money that decides where a player plays. Fans should not bring club v country argument here. It is unfair on players. Sanga was forced to choose his home team. If players choose their home teams CSK will be without Hussey, bravo, Morris and Albie. That is the core of CSK out.

  • POSTED BY shashankqvivek on | September 21, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    CSK have a very strong side as always and one of the contenders of the Trophy. What is most impressive about CSK management is their selection of players. In past they have selected players from other Domestic circuits. Faf du Plessis & George Bailey being prime example , both of those now captaining their national team. They have also groomed many Indian talented players, recent example is Mohit Sharma. Overall they have very good cricketing sense while picking players. All these hard works in building this team should not go to waste. Every team in IPL should retain 3-4 players otherwise IPL will devalue for sure. I think in CLT20 CSK may struggle initially because less match practice but somehow they will reach semifinals and possibly lift the trophy.

  • POSTED BY kartcric on | September 21, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    @Michael Reid .This Chennai side can easily win any tournament even without foreign players.We have enough domestic talent to bank upon .Moreover foreign teams give their players to Ipl sides only because they would get money

  • POSTED BY T-run on | September 21, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Michael Reid, No team from any country is forced to give anyone their best players. It is up to the player to choose (eg Sangakara). This is franchise/club cricket, not an international fixture.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | September 21, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    It's easy having a great team when teams from other countries have to give you there best players.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | September 21, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    For the IPL7:

    1) no more new teams. Don't dilute the talent ( specially Indian) by adding new teams.

    2) retain at least 4 players if not more to keep fan loyalty and continuity.

    The auctioning players is a bizarre concept. Sometimes a certain player goes to astronomical sum just because the franchise is hell bent of acquiring the player. Ex Maxwell. There is a big Salary difference between Indian players and foreign players even tho ugh both are equally talented. Uncapped Indian players are paid such a low amount compared to capped Indians, they become targets to bookies.

    If the players are paid like the way the central contracts are paid there will be less resentment among players. Players can be categorised into groups according to their icc rankings and paid prefixed amounts and DRAFT PICK method can be used to select players. Test only players and retired players can be picked in the auction style. Something to get rid of my chest, peace.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Somehow this team got yellow and super combination of players! Like the Steve Waugh Aus team! They rarely fail, they just want to prove their power again and again. They won many close games because they believe they can do and they do have the talent to do so.

    It's always a joy watching this team come out of trouble and win a game.

    I do not think any player or the fans keeping their administrators in mind at the moment, we all see how the players work hard on field to win a game. GO CSK, this title is yours win this in style!

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    All the Best CSK. Hope in 2014 Dhoni will only lead CSK again and also till he plays cricket in his life. No bother whether they win the ipl or not, Dhoni will be always inspiration character to younger generation.

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | September 21, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Being able to retain players will be CSK's wish in the next auctions. But all the others will try and force a full disband, just for the morbid satisfaction of seeing CSK's core destroyed. This is political, to say the least, but this is exactly what all the foolish teams that chose badly the first two times around will try and enforce, through legislation, what they couldn't do through intelligence and management.

    That said, CSK's top management will be clever enough to bid as high as possible to win back everyone. They are not fools, and they won't be intimidated. The CSK story is one of the best stories in franchise cricket, and I'd hate to see that not continue.

  • POSTED BY murillo on | September 22, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    I wonder why controversies are created - through accusations, charge sheeting etc. - on the eve of CSK matches? Last time it was when CSK was about to play the final of IPL2013, and now when they are about to play their first match in CLT-T20.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | September 21, 2013, 11:49 GMT

    CLT20 is a club tournament. As in other club sports, it is the money that decides where a player plays. Fans should not bring club v country argument here. It is unfair on players. Sanga was forced to choose his home team. If players choose their home teams CSK will be without Hussey, bravo, Morris and Albie. That is the core of CSK out.

  • POSTED BY shashankqvivek on | September 21, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    CSK have a very strong side as always and one of the contenders of the Trophy. What is most impressive about CSK management is their selection of players. In past they have selected players from other Domestic circuits. Faf du Plessis & George Bailey being prime example , both of those now captaining their national team. They have also groomed many Indian talented players, recent example is Mohit Sharma. Overall they have very good cricketing sense while picking players. All these hard works in building this team should not go to waste. Every team in IPL should retain 3-4 players otherwise IPL will devalue for sure. I think in CLT20 CSK may struggle initially because less match practice but somehow they will reach semifinals and possibly lift the trophy.

  • POSTED BY kartcric on | September 21, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    @Michael Reid .This Chennai side can easily win any tournament even without foreign players.We have enough domestic talent to bank upon .Moreover foreign teams give their players to Ipl sides only because they would get money

  • POSTED BY T-run on | September 21, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    Michael Reid, No team from any country is forced to give anyone their best players. It is up to the player to choose (eg Sangakara). This is franchise/club cricket, not an international fixture.

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | September 21, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    It's easy having a great team when teams from other countries have to give you there best players.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | September 21, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    For the IPL7:

    1) no more new teams. Don't dilute the talent ( specially Indian) by adding new teams.

    2) retain at least 4 players if not more to keep fan loyalty and continuity.

    The auctioning players is a bizarre concept. Sometimes a certain player goes to astronomical sum just because the franchise is hell bent of acquiring the player. Ex Maxwell. There is a big Salary difference between Indian players and foreign players even tho ugh both are equally talented. Uncapped Indian players are paid such a low amount compared to capped Indians, they become targets to bookies.

    If the players are paid like the way the central contracts are paid there will be less resentment among players. Players can be categorised into groups according to their icc rankings and paid prefixed amounts and DRAFT PICK method can be used to select players. Test only players and retired players can be picked in the auction style. Something to get rid of my chest, peace.

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    Somehow this team got yellow and super combination of players! Like the Steve Waugh Aus team! They rarely fail, they just want to prove their power again and again. They won many close games because they believe they can do and they do have the talent to do so.

    It's always a joy watching this team come out of trouble and win a game.

    I do not think any player or the fans keeping their administrators in mind at the moment, we all see how the players work hard on field to win a game. GO CSK, this title is yours win this in style!

  • POSTED BY on | September 21, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    All the Best CSK. Hope in 2014 Dhoni will only lead CSK again and also till he plays cricket in his life. No bother whether they win the ipl or not, Dhoni will be always inspiration character to younger generation.

  • POSTED BY sweetspot on | September 21, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Being able to retain players will be CSK's wish in the next auctions. But all the others will try and force a full disband, just for the morbid satisfaction of seeing CSK's core destroyed. This is political, to say the least, but this is exactly what all the foolish teams that chose badly the first two times around will try and enforce, through legislation, what they couldn't do through intelligence and management.

    That said, CSK's top management will be clever enough to bid as high as possible to win back everyone. They are not fools, and they won't be intimidated. The CSK story is one of the best stories in franchise cricket, and I'd hate to see that not continue.

  • POSTED BY VVSR92 on | September 21, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    CSK indeed look prime favourites to win the tournament. They have all bases covered and are strong in all 3 departments of game. The emergence of mohit sharpened their edge to a side which boasts maximum number of match winners. Playing in ranchi should help them get support and their biggest strength is to snatch victories from difficult situations. They have an answer to every challenge thrown. Unless they have an off day cant see them missing out on thier 3rd title.

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    Yes nice article csk will be hard to beat but this is 2020 so tournament on can't wait for the first game

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | September 20, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    CSK will smash anyone. Brisbane Heat who ?

  • POSTED BY rubz10 on | September 20, 2013, 19:24 GMT

    everyone is concerned about loosing the captain or other players in the auction in 2014. but the key thing about the auction is every team/franchise can retain a minimum of 4 players upto 6 players in the squad. so not to worry about the team loosing its face value.

  • POSTED BY Temuzin on | September 20, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Even if the CSK players will go up on the auction block in 2014. CSK will try to get their captain and key players back by bidding for them as high as any one can go. Go CSK, whistlepodu.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | September 20, 2013, 18:06 GMT

    csk surely is a strong contender of the league. They had that little edge always in every tournament they had played. I think they are a team to be beaten and they have a great chance to win the tournament second time.

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    CSK earn the right to say the "The CSK"...that`s the way they play..I think they have won 4 fair play award in IPL..such a class team..Winning in everything..No doubt about the fan strength for CSk..you can always check it on the Poll..50%..that`s massive..

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    very good analyse yes csk is team to beat msd will create magic in Ranchi . best of lock csk

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    I`m not sure about the rules of BCCI reg. the player retention in IPL 2014...If they thinking of dismantling the teams for fun..well i`m sure IPL will get big loss in terms of viewership and fan base..As a CSK fan i never ever want to see Dhoini or Raina to play for another franchise..that is totally unfair to the fans..please clarify Niki

  • POSTED BY xylo on | September 20, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    CSK does not have "intimidating players" like the author says. That adjective would belong to Mumbai Indians. What CSK has is intelligent and effective players.

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    HI all, you guys agree or not....CSK is the team stolen our hearts, like one of our national team. It is so sad that, in 2014 squad will be hunted by other franchises. But we hope at least it will give our captain back and other stars too. But always we pray for CSK and CSK will do magic for us. Well said in the analyse, CSK is the team - one of the strongest around in T20 cricket and always consistently been the team to beat. Proud to be a CSK fan and wishing the best to our team.

  • POSTED BY cnksnk on | September 20, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    CSK is the team to beat. Quick clarification.... can teams not retain atleast 4 of their players like last time. This article speaks of all players being put in auction. Very sad as franchises an d fan loyalties have been created ...

  • POSTED BY Sagarneel on | September 20, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    With the Mumbai police gearing up to produce the match fixing charge sheet on Monday, chances are, CSK don't even get to play, depending on the seriousness of the allegations against Mayappan. I hope though, that they do - for the one and only Michael Hussey.

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | September 20, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    best team alongside mumbau indians in champions league . hope an ipl team wins this international tournament and raises the prestige of ipl in world circuit. come on csk #whistlepodu

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | September 20, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    Good analysis on the CSK Team. Alright team. Let us win this one for Srini ( sounds funny?), whether he wins BCCI election or not and how ever he ran BCCI/Indian Circket, he has let the CSK team management create the best T20 cricket franchise ever, the franchise with Most Fans, every time there is a poll, it CSK the fans want to win more than 50% of them. Let us hope CSK continues to stays with Srini and he gets all the players back for another 3 years.

  • POSTED BY Samychennai on | September 20, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    East or West CSK is best. The premier league or Champion league is to choose a team that going to play final against CSK. This is what their strength. Win or lose there is entertainment from CSK for sure. We fans looking for another final from CSK. GO CSK GO!

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  • POSTED BY Samychennai on | September 20, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    East or West CSK is best. The premier league or Champion league is to choose a team that going to play final against CSK. This is what their strength. Win or lose there is entertainment from CSK for sure. We fans looking for another final from CSK. GO CSK GO!

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | September 20, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    Good analysis on the CSK Team. Alright team. Let us win this one for Srini ( sounds funny?), whether he wins BCCI election or not and how ever he ran BCCI/Indian Circket, he has let the CSK team management create the best T20 cricket franchise ever, the franchise with Most Fans, every time there is a poll, it CSK the fans want to win more than 50% of them. Let us hope CSK continues to stays with Srini and he gets all the players back for another 3 years.

  • POSTED BY gsingh7 on | September 20, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    best team alongside mumbau indians in champions league . hope an ipl team wins this international tournament and raises the prestige of ipl in world circuit. come on csk #whistlepodu

  • POSTED BY Sagarneel on | September 20, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    With the Mumbai police gearing up to produce the match fixing charge sheet on Monday, chances are, CSK don't even get to play, depending on the seriousness of the allegations against Mayappan. I hope though, that they do - for the one and only Michael Hussey.

  • POSTED BY cnksnk on | September 20, 2013, 16:37 GMT

    CSK is the team to beat. Quick clarification.... can teams not retain atleast 4 of their players like last time. This article speaks of all players being put in auction. Very sad as franchises an d fan loyalties have been created ...

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 16:43 GMT

    HI all, you guys agree or not....CSK is the team stolen our hearts, like one of our national team. It is so sad that, in 2014 squad will be hunted by other franchises. But we hope at least it will give our captain back and other stars too. But always we pray for CSK and CSK will do magic for us. Well said in the analyse, CSK is the team - one of the strongest around in T20 cricket and always consistently been the team to beat. Proud to be a CSK fan and wishing the best to our team.

  • POSTED BY xylo on | September 20, 2013, 17:00 GMT

    CSK does not have "intimidating players" like the author says. That adjective would belong to Mumbai Indians. What CSK has is intelligent and effective players.

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    I`m not sure about the rules of BCCI reg. the player retention in IPL 2014...If they thinking of dismantling the teams for fun..well i`m sure IPL will get big loss in terms of viewership and fan base..As a CSK fan i never ever want to see Dhoini or Raina to play for another franchise..that is totally unfair to the fans..please clarify Niki

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    very good analyse yes csk is team to beat msd will create magic in Ranchi . best of lock csk

  • POSTED BY on | September 20, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    CSK earn the right to say the "The CSK"...that`s the way they play..I think they have won 4 fair play award in IPL..such a class team..Winning in everything..No doubt about the fan strength for CSk..you can always check it on the Poll..50%..that`s massive..