Captaincy change, lack of form for key players and injuries: What has gone wrong for CSK in IPL 2022?

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Abhishek KumarUpdated: May 01, 2022, 08:45 PM IST
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Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have had a turbulent time so far in IPL 2022 with just two wins in their first eight matches. Here we try to decode what has gone wrong for the defending champions this season.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have not had much going their way in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. With six losses in their first eight matches this season, CSK stand on the brink of facing early elimination as they desperately aim to spark a turnaround. The defending champions were expected to be a force to reckon with after a memorable title triumph last season but they have failed to replicate their success this year.

CSK are no stranger to slower starts to their campaign but this season was different as they slumped to four straight defeats in their first four games before breaking the deadlock against Royal Challengers Bangalore to get their first points on the table. CSK were expected to get some winning momentum behind their back after their win over RCB but they lost two in their next three matches as the slump continued.

CSK were in for a stern test at the start of the season after stalwart MS Dhoni's decision to hand over the captaincy to Ravindra Jadeja. While many thought the decision could prove to be the right one considering Dhoni is past his best as a batter and Jadeja can learn from him while he is still around, the move didn't quite work in CSK's favour.

The defending champions went on to endure one of the worst possible starts to the season as Jadeja looked overwhelmingly burdened on the field with the captaincy responsibility. His personal performances with both the bat and the ball also weren't up to the mark nor were some of his decisions under pressure.

However, Jadeja's dodgy form has not been the only reason behind CSK's struggles this season as the four-time champions have lacked good starts at the top of the order and have also backed cutting edge in their pace department. The lack of a power-hitter in the middle-order has also seen them fail to get over the line in close run-chases.

Decoding CSK's struggles in IPL 2022:

1) Misfiring openers 

Chennai Super Kings' buggest concern this season has been the woeful form of opening batter Ruturaj Gaikwad. Gaikwad, who was the leading run-getter in IPL 2021 last year, played an instrumental role in helping CSK win their fourth title along with his opening partner Faf du Plessis, who was the second-highest run-getter of the season.

While Du Plessis is no more a part of the CSK squad, Gaikwad has not been able to hit the ground running in IPL 2022. With just one fifty in eight matches so far, the young right-hander has struggled immensely with the willow. To add to CSK's woes, his opening partner Robin Uthappa has also struggled to provide good starts at the top consistently while Devon Conway was dropped after just one failure.

2) Deepak Chahar's absence

Chennai Super Kings have also missed the presence of their premier pacer Deepak Chahar, who was ruled out due to an injury ahead of the start of the season. Chahar has been one of the most prolific wicket-takers for CSK over the last few years and has been exceptional in Powerplay. His absence has been a huge blow for the four-time champions, who have failed to find an ideal replacement for the 29-year-old.

Chahar was expected to return to the squad midway through the season but was ruled out from IPL 2022 completely after his injury worsened. In his absence, CSK have no prominent Indian pacer in their squad and have had to pay the price for an inexperienced bowling attack.

3) Injury woes

Besides Deepak Chahar, CSK have also had to deal with injuries to several key players. New Zealand pacer Adam Milne, who was epected to play a big role for the franchise with his brutal pace, has been ruled out of the season. All-rounder Moeen Ali has also suffered an anke injury and has already missed three matches for the team.

4) Change in captaincy

Not man had expected CSK to struggle as much as they did after MS Dhoni stepped aside to hand over the baton to Ravindra Jadeja as captain of the side. However, the change in captaincy didn't work in CSK's favour. Despite having significant experience behind his back, Jadeja was not as sharp on the field with his decision making.

The pressure of captaincy also saw Jadeja lose his sheen as the all-rounder he has been for CSK over the las couple of seasons. While he was struggling to get going with the bat, the left-hander also has not been among the wickets for the Men in Yellow. CSK also clearly missed Dhoni's tactical genius and his exceptional decision-making abilities on the field in crucial situations.

Can MS Dhoni pull off another miraculous comeback for CSK?

On Saturday, CSK announced Dhoni was returning as captain for the team after Jadeja had decided to hand over the reins back to the legendary wicket-keeper batter. While the expectations have sky-rocketed once again, he will have his task cut out for the remainder of the season.

With six defeats in eight matches, CSK are already on the brink of facing early elimination from the tournament and need to win their remaining six matches on the trot to stand a chance of making it to the playoffs. While Dhoni remains one of the greatest captains of all time in IPL history and has bailed his team out of trouble on several occasions, it will be a mountainous task to get CSK's derailed campaign back on track.

The Dhoni era will reignite for CSK with their clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Sunday (May 01) which will be a must-win encounter for the four-time champions as they look to spark a turnaround and bring a change in the fortunes this season.