‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is an unusual phrase that perfectly applies to Chennai Super Kings, the four-time IPL champions (CSK). In the IPL Mega Auction, the MS Dhoni-led side assembled a roster that helped them win the 2021 season.
CSK spent 42 crores out of 90 crores on four players – Ravindra Jadeja (16 crores), MS Dhoni (12 crores), Moeen Ali (8 crores), and Ruturaj Gaikwad (6 crores) – and joined the mega auction with the remaining 48 crores to complete the roster.
Despite getting all 25 players, CSK was left with 2.95 crores at the end of the auction. A total of 71.85 crores was spent to bring back 13 of the 25 players that played for Chennai in the 2021 season.
CSK paid a total of 82.75 crores for 15 capped players, while the rest of the uncapped players cost 4.3 crores. However, just 22 crores were spent on eight abroad picks out of a total of 87.05 crores.
Deepak Chahar was Chennai’s most expensive player (excluding retention) in the IPL Auction, costing 14 crores; Ambati Rayudu was the next most expensive buy, costing 6.75 crores. Dwayne Bravo was CSK’s most costly overseas acquisition, costing 4.4 crores.
CSK’s Tried-and-True Strategy
CSK management made every effort to stick to the same formula. Despite their best efforts to reclaim Faf du Plessis, the South Africans ran over budget, forcing them to resort to Plan B: backups.
Devon Conway, a left-hander who plays spin well, has been named as CSK’s opener. He is an ideal complement to Gaikwad. Chennai had already secured Moeen Ali’s spot at number three, so they reintroduced Ambati Rayudu at number four, who is a good pacer.
With the top four taken care of, CSK made an offer for Shivam Dube, a left-handed floater who can roll his arm and bowl 2-3 solid overs when needed. With MS Dhoni’s abilities waning, Chennai is banking on Ravindra Jadeja to provide the finishing touch.
Along with Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar gives batting depth to CSK’s lineup. Chahar and Bravo, on the other hand, add diversity to their bowling. One is a powerplay expert, while the other is a death-over expert.
Rajvardhan Hangargekar, the U19 standout, was another intriguing choice for Chennai. He’s a hard-hitting fast bowler who can consistently deliver both hard lengths and yorkers. Hangargekar’s ability to stroke the bat makes him a likely starter.
Last season, CSK had a lot of fun with Josh Hazlewood, another hit-the-deck bowler. Because Chennai was unable to reclaim Hazlewood at the auction, they were forced to settle for Adam Milne, a pitcher with similar traits but more pace.
If CSK choose to play another overseas player in place of Conway, Robin Uthappa will be employed as a backup. Uthappa is a powerful batter and a fantastic spin hitter.
With Imran Tahir ageing, Chennai took a chance on Maheesh Theekshana, Sri Lanka’s new mystery spinner, who is likely to get a few games in good conditions.
Dwayne Bravo’s backups, Dwaine Pretorious and Chris Jordan, were also sorted out by CSK. The South African allrounder can bowl decently as a floater, while the Englishman is an excellent death overs bowler who can slam the ball hard when needed.
Chennai Super Kings is a team founded on a tried-and-true plan that has worked for them in the past. However, given their ageing core, it will be intriguing to see how they manage the next three years with this group.