Chennai Super Kings IPL 2014 preview

Off-field anxieties for strong CSK

The Preview by Nikita Bastian

April 15, 2014

Comments: 44 | Text size: A | A
Agarkar: CSK have been the team of the IPL so far


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Likely first XI

1 & 2 Dwayne Smith/Brendon McCullum/Faf du Plessis, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 B Aparajith, 5 Dwayne Bravo, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ben Hilfenhaus/Samuel Badree, 10 Ishwar Pandey, 11 Mohit Sharma
Full squad

2013 finish

Runners-up, having lost the final to Mumbai Indians. That was their fifth IPL final in six editions. They have won the title twice - in 2010 and 2011.

Big Picture

Chennai Super Kings have been the most consistent of the IPL teams, both in terms of performance and team selection. So, to their fans, it will be strange to see a Super Kings outfit take the field this season minus Michael Hussey (with the team since 2008), Albie Morkel (ditto), S Badrinath (ditto) and M Vijay (with them since 2009). That they would lose some of their regulars was inevitable, given the big reshuffle this year, but that also means the team is without its established opening pair. As usual, though, they have solid options to fill those slots in new-comers Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum, and Faf du Plessis (on whom they used their one right-to-match card at the auction).

The five players who were retained - MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo - will continue to form the backbone of the eleven. Among the domestic batsmen, they have the promising talent of B Aparajith and the experience of Mithun Manhas. They have strengthened - and varied - their spin options by bringing in Samuel Badree.

Fast bowling has traditionally been their weakness, and will continue to be their most fragile front. They have bought back Ben Hilfenhaus and brought in his countryman John Hastings. They might have a surprise package in young tearaway Matt Henry, who claimed the third-best debut figures for a New Zealand bowler in ODIs, against India in January. Their Indian options include seamers Mohit Sharma (whose performances last season catapulted him to the national team), the experienced Ashish Nehra and Ishwar Pandey, who has been on the fringes of the Indian team ever since topping the Ranji wickets charts in 2012-13.

M Vijay and Michael Hussey added 159 for the first wicket, Chennai v Bangalore, IPL 2011, Final, Chennai, May 28, 2011
Chennai Super Kings will have to forge a new opening partnership this year © AFP

Off the field, things have been less smooth for Super Kings. Conflict of interest was a sword hanging over the franchise from its inception, it being owned by India Cements - the company of which BCCI president N Srinivasan is vice-chairman and managing director. That sword threatened to fatally slice through the franchise when team official and Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested on charges of cheating, forgery and fraud a couple of days before the 2013 final, amid the spot-fixing crisis. The threat did not abate as the Supreme Court of India mulled suspending the franchise. The court decided against it. Given a lifeline, the team will be eager to replace the nightmare of the past year with some better memories.

Big players

Super Kings are a team never lacking in high-profile performers, but read through the list of them and it hard go past the pair of MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. Raina is one short of 100 IPL matches - we are beginning season seven and he is yet to miss a single game - and is the tournament's leading run-getter with 2802 runs. Despite often batting lower down the order, Dhoni is also one of only 11 players past the 2000-run mark, with 2243 from 96 games. Among those with 2000+ runs, Raina and Dhoni's averages (35 and 38 respectively) are only bettered by Chris Gayle, and their strike rates (141) are behind only Gayle and Virender Sehwag. Longevity, reliability and explosiveness, all rolled into one.

Bargain buy

If the IPL auction was held after the World T20, West Indies legspinner Samuel Badree would have been one of the most sought after players. Instead, Super Kings picked him up for a mere Rs 30 lakh (US$50,000). Their think-tank must have been patting themselves on the back then, as Badree repeatedly opened the bowling and had the better of oppositions' top orders in his team's run to the World T20 semi-final. With 11 wickets at 10.27, he finished the joint-third highest wicket-taker (with Ashwin) and, having conceded 5.65 to the over, had the third-best economy rate (Ashwin being one of the two more miserly than him, with a 20-over cutoff).


Super Kings have no availability issues.


"We are professionals and will not allow any pressure to affect our performance. The first five games can be extremely important in the IPL, to build up a winning momentum, and that's what we will focus on."
Suresh Raina says Super Kings will not allow off-field issues to get to them


4/1 - joint favourites with Royal Challengers Bangalore
Odds provided by Bet365

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 18, 2014, 9:24 GMT)

Samuel Badree...I bet he was bought at a bargain price based on Mr. Dwyane Bravo's insight and his recommendation to Dhoni. Dwayne Bravo is one of my favorites...Very Cool and Very humble guy. Phenomenal athlete. Go Chennai! Go praise is too small for Mr. Cool...I want him to start blasting once again...Hopefully he has nothing to do with the stuff that is going around his team

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (April 18, 2014, 6:27 GMT)

I suppose Dhoni should enjoy his first 5 IPL games, before the SC makes its announcement!

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 19:44 GMT)

My Xl for opening game should be smith, faf,raina,baba/manage,dhoni,bravo,jadeja,aswin,hilfy,mohit,pandey this team will be perfect

Posted by ramz30380 on (April 16, 2014, 19:38 GMT)

@Samychennai Ur XI has 5 overseas players in Faf, Baz, Smith, Bravo & Badree..... is it by mistake or have u intentionally avoided Jadeja??!!!!

Ideal XI will be Faf, Baz/Smith, Raina, Aparajith, MSD, Bravo, SRJ, Ash, Mohit, Badree, Pandey..... plz no Nehra have him as a back-up! We want to see Pandey in action.....

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

My first eleven - D.Smith, Mc, Raina, Bravo, baba, MSD, Jadeja, Ashwin, Mohit, Badree, Ishwar

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

faf plays spin well n baz plays it a lil btr den smith..1faf 2baz 3raina 4jadeja/baba(accordin to the situation) 5dhoni 6bravo 7rj/ash 9hilfy 10nehra 11mohit

Posted by ssenthil on (April 16, 2014, 8:16 GMT)

I think CSK ideally should play only 1 of D Smith, B McCullum and Faf as they need both Badree and Hilfy to have a strong bowling attack and we all know Bravo is always going to be there. So CSK missed a trick of not picking a solid Indian opening batsman. Opening with 2 overseas players both can't handle the spin bowling is going to hurt CSK. So now they forced to field a playing 11 like 1. D Smith/B McCullum (Aggressive Opener), 2. Faf (Sheet Anchor but can up the tempo the roll perfectly played by Mike Hussey), 3. S Raina, 4. Baba Aparajith, 5. MS Dhoni, 6. D Bravo, 7. R Jadeja, 8. R Ashwin, 9. Mohit Sharma, 10. A Nehra/ I Pandey / R More, 11. S Badree/Hilfy. So CSK's obvious fast bowling weakness always going to exist but starting with UAE where pitches suits spin a lot will help CSK to field S Badree ahead of Hilfy thus allowing 2 overseas players to open the Innings and death bowling is going to be a headache as Dhoni have only Bravo who can bowl well in death. What is the plan?

Posted by Deena-India on (April 16, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

3 final losses and 2 consecutively (2012 and 2013). Please bring back the trophy this time and shut all the noises around. We are here to whistle for you... GO CSK GO...

Posted by Samychennai on (April 16, 2014, 7:14 GMT)

I have done small mistake while writing the lineup. Place Jadeja against B.Aparajit. Yes, the lineup is perfect now.

Posted by Siva_Bala75 on (April 16, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

Faf, Smith, Badree and Bravo. Ashwin, Jadeja. Dhoni, Raina, Baba. Nehra and the last one is a toss up between Pandey and Mohit.

Posted by Samychennai on (April 16, 2014, 6:35 GMT)

CSK is definitely the team for IPL like Manchester united for EPL. CSK never going to fail unless the team owner or management done something wrong.

My playing 11 for couple of matches 1)B.Mcllum 2) Dwyen Smith 3) Paf Duplesis 4) Raina 5)B.Aparajit 6)Dhoni 7)Bravo 8)Ashwin 9) Badree 10)Mohit Sharma 11) Nehra

Pandey, Hilfy, Manhas could be rotated in case anyone above fails. This will be terrific lineup. Death bowling is worry though.

Whistle podu machi!!

Posted by caught_knott_bowled_old on (April 16, 2014, 6:00 GMT)

CSK now has the strongest bowling lineup in terms of depth and variety. Dhoni now has as many EIGHT solid bowling options in the playing XI. Its never looked so strong. With Ashwin's and Badree's economy rate, they have a good way of stifling the opposition batting. Its going to be a bowling season for CSK this year. The batting perhaps will miss the consistency of Hussey, but will be more explosive with Dwayne Smith. I'm backing CSK to go to the finals.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 4:42 GMT)

My XI: 1) DuPlessis, 2) McCullum, 3) Raina, 4) Aparajith, 5) Dhoni, 6) Bravo, 7)Jadeja, 8) Ashwin, 9) Badree/Hilfenhaus, 10) & 11) Mohit/Nehra/Ishwar

Posted by dhoni_sachin_fan on (April 16, 2014, 4:36 GMT)

Starting XI should be : Bmac (or Smith), Faf, Raina, B.Aparajith, Bravo, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Mohit, Ishwar, Badree

This squad has 7 batsmen, 3 fast bowlers and 4 spinners...Provides ample balance and a lot of options for the skipper....

All the best CSK

Posted by pravineswar on (April 16, 2014, 4:09 GMT)

My first eleven - D.Smith, Faf, Raina, Bravo, MSD, Jadeja, Ashwin, Mohit, Badree, Nehra, Ishwar

Posted by D-Coach on (April 16, 2014, 2:11 GMT)

Every Team plays as a team in cricket. Sometimes it's about special skills like Murali, Sachin, Kholi, Malinga makes the difference for their team. No questions about individual talents that strengthen the teams. Can we consider the SL team without Malinga same? No point in bluffing Team India is not same without Kholi, etc. SL won T20 WC with prefect execution of death bowling and some senseless batting by out of form Yuvi. It's all about execution when situation demands. SL did it perfectly but can imagine an inform Yuvi would have made wonders to those low full toss and yorkers who gave India 3 world cups. ;) But all are hostory. Let's move ahead guys.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 23:58 GMT)

I think dwayne smith will play as an opener surely because he has had a very good t20 world cup as a smashing opener and badree could play ahead of hilfenhaus managing with indian seam bowlers mohit and ishwar pandey/ nehra

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 17:13 GMT)

CSK/Dhoni need to give Ishwar Pandey enough chances. If Ishwar can make an impact for CSK, it will solve a lot of problems not only for CSK, but also for Team India. CSK have more than enough batsmen to offset the loss of Hussey, Morkel and Badrinath. Team's Strength: Explosive batting order from the top which is better than previous one. Allrounders and spin is an extra package. Initial stages of leagues can be lost but back to win correct time to enter semis which can able to do by this team only, so mentaly strong. Core team is mostly to be played so expectation wil be mstly high for this team. weaknes:Depth bowling, inexperincd Fast Bowlers.

I lik2see INDIAN playrs like Manhnas,Mohit,Aprajith to perform & make a big impact fr Team INDIA.

Overall In IPL, Bowling dept Foreign bowlers are only perform & getting famous. I need some INDIAN batsmen & quicky to perform... Who ever can win. but INDIAN should have their upper hand. 2008-13 Orange cap- one INDIAN=SACHIN purple cap = ???

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 17:07 GMT)

open the innings with apparajitt and macallum this will solve all the opening problums only then CSK will win

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 16:15 GMT)

Yousufahmed1 v dnt care teams didnt pick those players whr cricket is a team game dat SL shows in w t20 whr india only drpnd on kohli,ashwin and dhoni. without them india????

Posted by Azweer on (April 15, 2014, 15:31 GMT)

Y not try Ravindra Jadeja as an opener ( A Pinch hitter ) ? Not Joking at all. He is struggling with his bat sometimes. he can be experimented in a long series like IPL

Posted by A.Ak on (April 15, 2014, 15:17 GMT)

CSK is not a team who bought stars, they made stars.

Posted by BigINDFan on (April 15, 2014, 15:12 GMT)

It is not a big deal if CSK do not have top class fast bowlers - they do Hilfenhaus, Pandey and Mohit to do a decent job in the UAE. Also Bravo can do a decent job slowing the runs and taking wickets at crucial times. Spin dept has improved with a leg spinner like Badree to play a key role in the UAE pitches similar to the BD pitches. If MSD can keep his head in the game and on the court drama CSK can win this IPL. They have solid match winners in this team and the key is Ashwin and Jadeja not messing it up.

The most dangerous player in this IPL will be Kohli since he played a lone hand to get Ind to the WCT20 finals. Yuvi need to prove a point by taking Malinga to the cleaners - easily said than done but it will be a fun contest :-)

Posted by svenkat02 on (April 15, 2014, 14:51 GMT)

CSK/Dhoni need to give Ishwar Pandey enough chances. If Ishwar can make an impact for CSK, it will solve a lot of problems not only for CSK, but also for Team India.

CSK have more than enough batsmen to offset the loss of Hussey, Morkel and Badrinath.

Posted by deadite11 on (April 15, 2014, 13:18 GMT)

Team's Strength: Explosive batting order from the top which is better than previous one. Allrounders and spin is an extra package. Initial stages of leagues can be lost but back to win correct time to enter semis which can able to do by this team only, so mentally strong. Core team is mostly to be played so expectation will be mostly high for this team.

Weaknesses: However if top order fails, there's no player like Hussey who can rotate and accelerate the runs with the situation. Fast bowling is one of the major concerns where there's not even a single top class fast bowler in the squad. Death overs will be also a concern where most of the mistakes can happen, dunno how this team can manage with the fast bowlers they have during death overs.

X-Factor: Technical brain MSD and Blazing allrounder Dwayne bravo can change the match to their winning ways.

Posted by TRAM on (April 15, 2014, 12:46 GMT)

Cant believe CSK management picked the pathetic fielder and batter Ashish Nehra. He is not good in bowling too ...

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 12:40 GMT)

Big Relief for Hussey is he cant be dismiised by Zaheer Khan again... Khan had better of him on most occasions and Hussey found it difficult to score against Zaheer..... It will big relief for Hussey

Posted by ramz_01 on (April 15, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

@Yousufahmed1 v dnt care teams didnt pick those players whr cricket is a team game dat SL shows in w t20 whr india only drpnd on kohli,ashwin and dhoni. without them india????

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 12:28 GMT)

my 11 faf smith raina mccullum msd bravo jaddu ashwin mohit ishwar pandey nehra

Posted by Siva_Bala75 on (April 15, 2014, 12:13 GMT)

Badree can bowl the first 4 of the 7 overs- a huge plus. They should try Nehra as one of the two Indian seamers. As always, CSK is the team to beat!

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 12:09 GMT)

My team would be 1) Faf/Smith 2) McCullum 3) Raina 4) Mithun 5) Dhoni 6)Bravo 7)Jadeja 8) Ashwin 9) Badree/Henry 10) Nehra 11) Mohit

Posted by Yousufahmed1 on (April 15, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

@ SLisBestinEarth The only flop in ipl have been lankan lions like mahela/sanga/dilshan. How many times they have dropped themselves. They were not even picked by any teams.

Posted by ramz30380 on (April 15, 2014, 11:51 GMT)

CSK is def the team to beat! They have a well balanced team that provides all that is needed but choosing a XI from this bunch of players is def going to be a headache for the captain and management. Choosing 2 out of Faf / Baz / Smith will be a tough call on anyone... They cant afford not to play Badree in the turning tracks of UAE and big hitting in-form Bravo is essential!

I think we will be seeing Faf and Smith taking the field as Faf offers the stability and can play the Hussey kind of role at the top and Smith just left the KKR boys chasing the ball in the practice match! Leaving Baz though will be a diff choice....

As a purely future perspective my XI is.... Smith, Faf, Raina, Aparajith, MSD, Bravo, SRJ, Ashwin, Badree, Mohit, Pandey

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 11:48 GMT)

Surprisingly CSK is the only team that did not go for many expensive Pace bowlers - Neither Indian (Shami, Bhuvaneshwar) nor Foreign. Most other teams did spent good amount of Money on fast bowler in this years auction. Luckily for CSK this years IPL is in UAE and not in SA

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 11:47 GMT)

go csk

Posted by Maliduke on (April 15, 2014, 11:45 GMT)

My first XI will be:

1.Aparajith 2.Duplessis 3.Raina 4.McCullam 5.Bravo 6.MS Dhoni 7.Jaddu 8.Ashwin 9.Bathree 10.M.Sharma 11.A.Nehra.

Depends on the form v can play around with duplessis, smith, and mccullam for 2 spot, simaliarly pandey nehra and sharma for 2 spot in the XI and apprajith and manas for a spot.

Others will pick themselfs in the XI.

Go well CSK, this is the season v badly needed to prove our-self by winning the title at the same time I expect this season to be a toughest season almost all the teams have a balanced team. Looking forward to enjoy the game.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 11:34 GMT)

My playing XI: Mcllum-du ple Raina Dhoni Aparajith Bravo Jadeja Ashwin Badree mohit nehra.. can try out Dwayne smith if the opening pair doesn't click for a couple of consecutive matches

Posted by shashi_dhoni on (April 15, 2014, 11:32 GMT)

SLisBestinEarth : Dear anyway csk does not play lankans and without their help csk has proved to be one of the best team in IPL . ONE THING PLEASE DO NOT ADD DILSHAN IN LEGEND LIST ...

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 11:16 GMT)

csk is the best team ever... because of dhoni.....

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 11:06 GMT)

CSK IS SURE TO BE TAKEN THE TROPHY IF 5 OVERSEAS PLAYER CAN BE TAKEN. But still they can easily take if these players are in form.

'''Suresh Raina''' (Another 400+ run needed) '''Dyane Smith''' (Get Consistency) '''DJ Bravo''' (Another Consistence Wicket taker 2+) '''B.Macullam''' (Hitted more than 6 sixes in an innings) '''Faf Duplessis''' (Scores consistently having strike rate above 130+) '''MS.DHoni''' (In Batting/Keeping/Captaincy)

Posted by SLisBestinEarth on (April 15, 2014, 11:04 GMT)

IPL without Lankan lions will not have the quality cricket. 2007 IPL would be huge flop without legends Sanga/Mahela/Dilshan.

Posted by mmsraja1987 on (April 15, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

CSK all the way!!!! We will be the champions of Pepsi IPL2014

Posted by FitzroyMarsupial on (April 15, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

Hussey, Vijay and Morkel out; McCullum, Smith and Badree in. On the face of it, this seems like reasonable business. Aparajith for Badri is also a progressive step. Yet, for some reason when scanning the XI, CSK look a little less strong to me than in previous years. Spinning pitches in UAE however might be the secret - Ashwin, Badree, Jadeja (and Raina) provide an excellent spin attack.

Posted by D-Coach on (April 15, 2014, 10:28 GMT)

CSK in Batting Order 1. (i)B.McCullam / (ii)F.DuPlessis, 2. (i)M.Manhas / (ii)B.Aparajith, 3. S.Raina, 4. D.Smith, 5. MS.Dhoni, 6. D.Bravo 7. R.Jadeja, 8. R.Ashwin, 9. (i)S.Badree / (ii)J.Hastings / (iii)M.Henry, 10. (i)M.Sharma / (ii)I.Pandey 11. A.Nehra

Team laks the Raw Pace talent except M.Henry (X-Factor) and one more left hand batsman could have handy. But can visibly see the core team is same since first match of IPL and have the stability with similar kind of replacements. As usual the CSK strength remains full of Match winners not Pinch Hitters. If Nehra can hold his body and concentration throughout the season, CSK will prove something special.

Being a CSK Fan loosing a match is OK at times but never want to loose without fight like how India Won all the T20 WC 2014 matches ;) and lost the final :P

All the best CSK for IPL 2014.

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