Chennai Super Kings (CSK) did not indulge in any trade during the transfer window and released just five players ahead of the auctions. With five slots left (two overseas), the primary focus was to get an overseas all-rounder and a fast bowler. The small purse did trouble them a bit, but they managed to address the problem areas ultimately. The CSK squad for IPL 2020 looks very identical to what it was in 2019 with a few notable additions.
Sam Curran (5.5 cr), Piyush Chawla (6.75 cr), Josh Hazlewood (2 cr), Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore (20L)
MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, M Vijay, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, Lungi Ngidi, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Monu Kumar, N Jagadeesan, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Sam Curran, Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore
Chennai Super Kings went into the auctions looking to address two major issues; a backup for the injury-prone Dwayne Bravo and a strike bowler as a backup for Lungi Ngidi. Sam Curran at 5.5 cr was a good buy, considering the fact that he fits in perfectly to the category of all-rounders they were looking for. Curran’s left-arm pace bowling makes the attack more versatile, accompanied by the fact that he is a decent death bowler too. Moe than handy with the bat, Curran is someone who thrives under pressure; which has been the characteristic of CSK forever.
CSK went all the way for Piyush Chawla (6.75 cr). The major idea behind the move being making room for the likes of Sam Curran in the XI in place of Imran Tahir. Chawla, being an experienced campaigner adds value to the side. His handy batting adds depth to the already long batting lineup.
After losing out to Mumbai Indians in a bid for Nathan Coulter-Nile, CSK managed to buy Josh Hazlewood. Hazlewood is a strike bowler and will only add strength to the pace battery. He gives them the versatility on pitches which assist pace and bounce. The last minute buy R Sai Kishore performed exceedingly well in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The left-arm orthodox spinner bowls in powerplays and his T20 career economy of 5.45 is quite impressive. He is a like for like Indian backup for Jadeja as far as bowling is considered.
The clarity with which they went into the auctions was evident from the fact that they only bid for seven players and managed to buy four of them.
Sam Curran was the pick of the buys for the Chennai Superkings. The left-arm medium pacer will thrive on the Chepauk pitch with his cutters and slower ones. He also has the accurate yorker in his armory, making him a very potent death bowler. Curran’s batting adds extra depth to the batting lineup. Not panicking under pressure is another quality which Curran has that goes hand-in-hand with how CSK have played over the years.
The Chennai-based franchise did reasonably well at the auctions, but failed to address the one major issue which haunted them last season; the under-performing middle order. Suresh Raina has not played much cricket post the IPL, Ambati Rayudu has been off color and Kedar Jadhav has been mediocre with his strike rate off late. The over-reliance on MS Dhoni did cost them a few games, including the finals. With no alternative options to look for, familiar predicaments might come back to haunt CSK.
The Chennai Super Kings were very specific in what they wanted from the auctions. They approached the auctions with the same composure and clarity in mind that they have on the field. The strategic move to bring in an Indian wrist spinner so as to accommodate an overseas all-rounder was the highlight for CSK in the auctions. The management was able to address two major issues, while the concern over the under-performing middle order still remains. However, if the likes of Raina and Jadhav hits form at the right time, the probability of winning their fourth title will grow manifold.
Overall, CSK fared quite well at the auctions; being meticulous in their approach. The only scope of improvement was to look for a hard-hitting middle order guy. The CSK squad 2020 has a rather familiar look to it despite the addition of some new players.
CSK Probable Playing XI: Shane Watson, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, Josh Hazlewood/ Lungi Ngidi
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