The defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) ended their two-day mega-auction campaign on Sunday, February 13 with the acquisition of 25 players for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. The takeaway from both the days of IPL 2022 mega-auction for CSK was its successful bidding and acquisition of its old players, who were part of their previous successful edition.
While CSK couldn’t bid for the South African marquee player Faf du Plessis who got sold to the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for INR 7 crores, the franchise from India’s southern metropolis did manage to rope in some exciting and promising new faces such as Devon Conway, Dwaine Pretorius, Adam Milne, Chris Jordan and Shivam Dube.
It will be interesting how the management plans to go about with the fresh lot of players and amalgamate their skills to play the most balanced side on the field. Let us scan the overall balance of the squad of CSK.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Full Squad
MS Dhoni (Captain & wk), Robin Uthappa (wk), Ambati Rayudu (wk), N Jagadeesan (wk), Devon Conway, Subhranshu Senapati, Hari Nishaanth, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, Simarjeet Singh, Adam Milne, Mukesh Choudhary, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Dwayne Bravo, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Prashant Solanki, Chris Jordan, Bhagath Varma
Top-Order: Robin Uthappa, Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad
CSK does have a sorted left-right opening combination if they go with the mix of New Zealand batter Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad in the opening batting slot. Gaikwad has emerged as CSK’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after having a successful campaign in IPL 2021. The right-handed batter aggregated 635 runs in 16 innings and became the youngest player in the history of the tournament to win the Orange Cap.
On the other hand, Conway has shown immense talent as an opener since making his debut for NZ in 2020. The southpaw has aggregated over 600 runs in T20Is with an average of 50.16, while his records in franchise cricket have been equally worthwhile with over 3700 runs at an average of over 43. It will be interesting to see how the pair of Gaikwad and Conway unfolds if the CSK skipper plans on trying them together.
Apart from these two, CSK can also rely on the likes of Robin Uthappa if either Conway or Gaikwad get injured or sit out of the game. Uthappa has vast experience as an opener when he played for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Middle-Order: Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (WK), Shivam Dube, N Jagadeesan
The most experienced lot of the squad will duly handle the responsibility of middle-order batting. The fact that Ambati Rayudu has been a successful campaigner for the franchise batting at number 4. If needed, he can step up his game which he has managed to do all these years, and as a matter of advantage, he has flexibly batted at any position in the middle-order. The rest of the middle-order looks pretty much sorted with Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni and newcomer to the side Shivam Dube, who possesses the ability to tonk the ball out of the park. Under the guidance of MS Dhoni, Dube could well be utilized with both ball and bat.
All-rounders: Chris Jordan, Mitchell Santner, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo
This is the area where CSK owners have kept the major focus, for the fact that all-rounders provide the best value addition and utility. Two of their key players - Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja - were retained owing to their all-round capabilities. Apart from them, CSK bought back Dwayne Bravo, also a good death bowler, followed by England’s Chris Jordan and NZ’s Mitchell Santner.
Moeen Ali can bat at any position depending on the requirements of the team. He has also batted at number 3 because of his ability to hit sixes, especially during the powerplays, if CSK lose openers early on. Moreover, like Ravindra Jadeja and Santner, Moeen also gives advantage to his side with ball in hand. While the new addition, Chris Jordan is a handy option in the playing XI for he can clock 140 kph and bat down the order like Bravo.
Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Adam Milne, Dwaine Pretorius, Maheesh Theekshana, Tushar Deshandey
The most expensive buy of IPL 2022 mega-auction for CSK, Deepak Chahar has been associated with the side since making his IPL debut. He has learned and evolved under MS Dhoni’s captaincy over the years. Of late, he has bloomed as a batter, as evident from his knocks against Sri Lanka last year and the ODI series against West Indies this year. He is expected to spearhead the bowling attack alongside the likes of Adam Milne and Chris Jordan.
The bidders also invested in an experienced lot of overseas pacers such as Adam Milne and Dwaine Pretorius, both of whom had successful campaigns for their respective national teams. Besides, the side has invested in a good lot of spinners, mostly hailing from the subcontinent. The likes of Sri Lanka’s Maheesh Theekshana, alongside some Indian names such as KM Asif and Tushar Deshpande, and U-19 World Cup winning bowler Rajvardhan Hangargekar might cut in to roll their arms.
Purse Available: INR 2.95 crores
Squad strength: 25 (17 - Indian, 8 - overseas)
It will be interesting how the management utilizes the set of players and make the best fit of playing XI out of them. CSK would still be the favorites going into IPL 2022, owing to the balance of the squad. The focus has been emphasized on having the old players who form the core while roping in world-class all-rounders and bowlers. There is room for the uncapped Indian players and youngsters who may come out as finds of the season, under the able guidance of skipper MS Dhoni and the team management.
IPL 2022 kicks off in India on March 27. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has indicated that the venues for the premier cricketing league could be Mumbai and Pune and the tournament will be held without spectators due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The detailed schedule of the tournament is yet to be announced.