After finishing seventh in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Chennai Super Kings will be looking to come back stronger and make the playoffs once again in the upcoming season of the IPL, starting on April 9 at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
CSK, whose 2020 finish in the United Arab Emirates was the only time they finished outside the playoffs spot, will aim to get back to winning ways and challenge the title and break Mumbai Indians‘ dominance, who have now won back-to-back titles in 2019 and 2020.
For bouncing back stronger, Chennai picked up two key players from the IPL 2021 auction in February in Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham. Both spinning all-rounders by trade will make the ‘Men in Yellow’ stronger in IPL 14, set to be played across six venues in India minus the fans for the first period because of the rising coronavirus cases in the country.
CSK also bought veteran India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara (INR 50 lakh) and both Harisankar Reddy, C Hari Nishanth and Bhagvath Varma base prices of INR 20 lakh.
However, the premium buys were Moeen and Gowtham, for which they paid a combined total of INR 16.25 crore. While Moeen went for INR 7 crore, CSK finally managed to land Gowtham for INR 9.25 crore after a fierce bidding war.
The pair is expected to give Dhoni more options with both bat and ball and cover for their already solid all-round options in Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner and Karn Sharma. In the all-around seaming department, CSK also has Sam Curran’s likes, Dwayne Bravo and Shardul Thakur, who has been performing with both bat and ball for India across all the formats.
In the bowling department, CSK will have the likes of the ever-consistent Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar and KM Asif to choose from, along with the plethora of all-rounders who are already a part of the ‘Whistle Podu’ army.
Moeen and Gowtham’s arrival also adds to the bowling depth and gives Dhoni more options if one of his premier bowlers has an off day.
However, it is the batting that struggled last year, and it will have to take care of itself to help CSK return to its glory days. In the absence of Suresh Raina and Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, and MS Dhoni, the three-time champions failed to defend up big scores consistently.
However, Raina is back, and so will be the impressive Ruturaj Gaikwad, who played some very impressive knocks towards the end of last year.
The batting department will also be bolstered by the arrival of Pujara from the auction and Robin Uthappa, who CSK traded from Rajasthan Royals before the auction.
Overall, CSK has a solid core, and they will be counting on the experience once again to take them through to the later stages of the tournament and eventually win it like in 2018 when they returned from suspension.
CSK will play their first game of the season against the Delhi Capitals on April 10 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
Entire CSK squad for IPL 2021: Faf du Plessis, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, N. Jagadeesan, Robin Uthappa, MS Dhoni (C & WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, R. Sai Kishore, Mitchell Santner, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Lungi Ngidi, Josh Hazlewood, KM Asif.
Players Bought: Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M Harisankar Reddy, K. Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishanth