IPL: Will Dhoni's last cap for CSK become a crown?

Last-minute injury to opener Devon Conway a dampener for the batting line-up

MS Dhoni at CSK nets (photo: @ChennaiIPL/X)
MS Dhoni at CSK nets (photo: @ChennaiIPL/X)

Gautam Bhattacharyya

The Chennai Super Kings — five-time champions along with the Mumbai Indians — will be back to defend their title with Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as their thala (leader) one last time.

A well-settled outfit which has historically never believed in too much of chopping and changing, the yellow shirts once again look like strong contenders.

In the mini-auction in Dubai on 19 December, they bought well, investing in the precocious Rachin Ravindra, the Emerging Player of the Year in the last 50-overs World Cup along with Daryl Mitchell, both the New Zealanders shining bright in their campaign that ended in the semi-finals.

CSK spent a total of Rs 30.40 crores from their purse in Dubai, buying a total of six players — including winning back their former utility man Shardul Thakur after the Kolkata Knight Riders released him.

A major dampener for CSK, which boasts of one of the most balanced outfits, is that they will be missing out on the services of their Kiwi opener Devon Conway for the better part of the IPL due to a thumb injury sustained during the T20I series against Australia. His recovery period is expected to be around eight weeks, which rules him out till May.

So it won’t be a surprise to see someone like Ravindra opening the batting with the consistent Ruturaj Gaikwad.

The batting line-up still packs enough punch with the likes of Gaikwad, Ravindra, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Mitchell and of course, MSD bringing up the rear.

The all-rounders’ section is equally awesome, with the likes of Jadeja, Moeen and Mitchell Santner having the reputation of making life difficult for visiting teams at the slow turner in MA Chidambaram Stadium of Chennai.

The new ball attack, featuring Deepak Chahar, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana and Mustafizur Rahman looks relatively lightweight, though, with only one backup pacer in the uncapped Tushar Deshpande. Thakur, however, has the knack of taking crucial wickets, though he has often proved too expensive.

Final Squad:

  1. MS Dhoni (captain)

  2. Moeen Ali

  3. Deepak Chahar

  4. Devon Conway

  5. Tushar Deshpande

  6. Shivam Dube

  7. Ruturaj Gaikwad

  8. Rajvardhan Hangargekar

  9. Ravindra Jadeja

  10. Ajay Mandal

  11. Mukesh Choudhary

  12. Matheesha Pathirana

  13. Ajinkya Rahane

  14. Shaik Rasheed

  15. Mitchell Santner

  16. Simarjeet Singh

  17. Nishant Sindhu

  18. Prashant Solanki

  19. Maheesh Theekshana

  20. Rachin Ravindra

  21. Shardul Thakur

  22. Daryl Mitchell

  23. Sameer Rizvi

  24. Mustafizur Rahman

  25. Avanish Rao Aravelly

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