CSK will be opening the 13th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 this year against the mighty Mumbai Indians. With the other IPL franchises sweating hard in the training sessions, CSK has witnessed obstacles even before the IPL 2020 kick-starts. Their campaign has already been spoilt with the players testing positive for COVID-19 and then the departure of stalwarts Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh.
MS Dhoni in this IPL will lead from the front as the former Indian cricketer, given his announcement of retirement. But, on a positive note, there will be no rumors going around about his India future. Though Raina and Singh missing out this season, there are still players who can help to win matches for the Yellow Army. With players like Watson and Rayudu opening the matches, they will establish a proper base for the middle-order. The batting line-up in the middle order also looks balanced as experienced players Du Plessis, Jadhav, and Dhoni help to put the runs on the scoreboard if the opening duo collapses.
In the bowling department, there are plenty of options for the skipper to choose as Sam Curran, the youngest bowler to take a hat-trick in IPL 2019 has come also in the squad, and the highest bought player by CSK, spinner Piyush Chawla is also in the squad. Along with them, there are star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, ace spinners Jadeja and Tahir. Thakur and Chahar adding pace with other bowlers.
Experienced players Dhoni, Bravo, Watson, du Plessis, and Rayudu know how to deal with the pressure. Murali Vijay might be a useful option to replace Raina in the XI. Though Dhoni will have more than enough responsibility on his shoulders, he is the one who knows his moves well. On the other hand, there are pace-attackers Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur. With fast bowlers Josh Hazlewood and Lungi Ngidi entering, it will be interesting to see who will be in the playing XI. Despite Harbhajan's exit, CSK has an illustrious pool of spinners (Jadeja, Piyush, Santner, Imran Tahir, and Karn Sharma).
Despite having a solid batting line-up, Raina's absence could dent their plight this season. The same goes for Singh. It will be a huge dilemma for the skipper to choose No. 3 batsman. As the few players tested positive, they have had less preparation time in UAE compared to others and due to lockdown restrictions, it will be not easy for the team. Quality pacers are missing in the team as there are players like Kohli and Smith who can tackle the spin.
Had it not for the COVID-19 and the departure of Raina and Singh the Yellow army was probably the most stable team amongst the eight franchises.
However, tables can turn anytime in the IPL, let's see if will CSK have the upper hand despite loopholes.
Players bought by CSK: Sam Curran (Rs. 5.5 crores), Piyush Chawla (Rs. 6.75 crores), Josh Hazlewood (Rs. 2 crores), Sai Kishore (Rs. 20 lakh).
Squad: Narayan Jagadeesan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Ravindra Jadeja, M Vijay, MS Dhoni (C), Josh Hazlewood, Kedar Jadhav, Karn Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Monu Kumar, Shane Watson, Sai Kishore.
Playing XI (Guess): Watson, Rayudu, Du Plessis, Jadhav, Dhoni (WK/C), Bravo, Jadeja, Tahir, Thakur, Chahar, Chawla.