WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Mar 19, 2019, 12.41 PM
They ruled for seasons, were banned for two years, came back strong and are the current champions - Yes it's none other than Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - Indian Premier League's most successful franchise.
With the 12th edition of the cash-rich tournament scheduled to commence from March 23, the Yellow Brigade is preparing hard at nets to continue their dominance.
A factor why the franchise managed to survive the tough time and increase its fans by leaps and bounds during those two years is Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Dhoni is the biggest strength of Chennai as he has the ability to bring the best out of any player.
Moreover, he is always spot-on with his on-field decisions; his brilliant captaincy and unmatchable glovework, are among one of the reasons that Chennai have won the prestigious IPL trophy thrice.
The second positive for CSK is that they have retained their 2018 team players. They have surely replaced two-three players but their core team remains the same.
Also, they will be playing at their original home ground i.e. M.A. Chidambaram stadium. Last season they were forced to play at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), Pune, due to political tensions, but this time the case is different.
There is no obvious weakness in this star-stunned side apart from a single concern that it's a relatively old team, where the average age is 30 years. However, they had defied the concern in the laast season but fitness might be an issue for the side.
The second thing that can stop the franchise from defending their title is that many of their players have not been playing regular cricket.
Suresh Raina, who hit the nets yesterday in a video circulated on social media, last played international cricket in 2018. There is a chance that he may be rusty in the first few matches of the tournament.
Ambati Rayudu was able to a comeback to the Indian team owing to a great 2018 IPL season and the batsman will be keen to repeat his performance and book a spot in the Indian World Cup squad.
On the same plane is all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. He is also sailing in the same boat as his decent performances against the Aussies have increased his chances of making it to the World Cup. A great IPL season could see him going to England too.
Apart from the two other players like Deepak Chahar and Lungi Ngidi will also be eager to make the most of this opportunity.
Another add-on which the Dhoni-led team have is that they have too many bowling options.
Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh - the list of players who can bowl is quite long.
Retained: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Billings, Mitchell Santner, David Willey, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, N Jagadeesan, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi