Whistle Podu... you and I both know CSK will win it all
Even without mentioning the upside of having a certain BCCI honcho who also is the owner of the franchise, CSK look quite the formidable unit.
Most calm captain in the competition? Check.
Coolest fan campaign in the league? Check.
Quality spinners? Check.
Bashers in the middle order? Check.
Aggressive openers? Check.
Powerful allrounders? Check.
Even without mentioning the upside of having a certain BCCI honcho who also is the owner of the franchise, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) look quite the formidable unit, looking all set to three-peat as IPL Champions. Sure, the campaign hasn’t got off to a great start, but it’s a long tournament. Each team play 16 matches over 7 weeks and all CSK have to do is finish in the top 4.
A team loaded with talent and one that has had the experience of facing elimination before, and knowing how to win, a berth in the knockout stage should be pretty straightforward for CSK. As captain cool, Dhoni said, “Your franchises, they pay such an amount of money for you. So at least you are supposed to qualify for the semi-finals.”
Once Michael Hussey gets back into the fold after completing his national duties in West Indies (and a rejuvenated Ben Hilfenhaus, if needed), it should strengthen the team further, as they make the move towards the business end of the tournament. In fact, let us just hand them the trophy. You and I know CSK are going to win it all. Again.
Of all the teams in the competition, only Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata can be considered as close competition to Chennai. However, CSK have beaten Mumbai and Bangalore in the finals of the last two editions of IPL, respectively. It will round off a wonderful three-peat if CSK can beat the Knight Riders in his year’s IPL. I am sure it can be arranged... I mean, it may happen, well of course.
As a fan of Chennai, Mumbai worries me the most. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, most probably the latter, they have made the single biggest move of the off-season. No, it is not some big name signing or anything. It is Sachin Tendulkar giving up the post of captain right before the start of IPL V.
In the past years, I have always been quite confident whenever Chennai faced Mumbai in a crucial game that MS Dhoni would (quite easily) outthink and outsmart Tendulkar but also expected Tendulkar to mess it up for them with his “inspired” selections and batting order similar to the IPL III finals where he held back Kieron Pollard while sending batting luminaries like Saurabh Tiwary and Harbhajan Singh ahead. Now with Tendulkar gone as the captain, this Mumbai team may actually do something in the knock stages, as they showed during the Champions League last year. And there is a small matter of the addition of Pragyan Ojha who has been quite outstanding.
Looking at the CSK squad, it doesn’t look much different from the previous squads that won it all the last 2 years and they have added Ravindra Jadeja whose left arm spin and electric fielding should really help but it obviates the need to play Shadab Jakati. Perhaps, it will help CSK’s cause if they played an additional batter such as Anirudha Srikkanth or a pacer like Sudeep Tyagi instead of Jakati.
The single biggest aspect that CSK really need to be concerned is the C-word. No, no, I didn’t mean THAT. I meant complacency. It is quite natural for a team that just knows (and has shown the last two years) when to flip the switch on, to take things easy at the beginning, coast till things heat up. So here is to hoping that the Chennai Super Kings put together a comprehensive performance throughout the tournament and finish it off in style, so that we can say “at the end of the day”, Three-peat? Check.
About the author: Subash is a cricket blogger and podcaster based in the US. His introduction to Cricket began with enduring sledges from his elder brothers during their many backyard cricket sessions. He supports Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. He blogs at http://thecricketcouch.com and can be found on Twitter @thecricketcouch.
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