The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been suspended for the current season, and its future is unclear. However, in sports, speculation never ceases. Because of the mega auction and the creation of two new franchises, IPL 2022 will be a massive event. All franchises must release all of their players prior to the IPL mega auction. Only 5 players are eligible to be retained (Retain & Right to Match).
CSK is the second most successful team in the history of IPL, with 3 titles under their belt, only 2 behind Mumbai (5 titles). But many fans would say they are the most consistent team in the IPL, and stats do support it. CSK have been involved in 8 finals and qualified for playoffs 10 times, only missing out in 2020 (suspended for two years, 2016 & 2017). After a disappointing campaign in 2020, CSK found the right combination of players ahead of IPL 2021. They were in second place on the points table before IPL 2021 was suspended.
With the future of IPL 2021 uncertain, let's look at the 5 players who might be retained by CSK ahead of IPL 2022 mega auction.
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
MS Dhoni is the kind of player any selector would pick even if he is not scoring runs. The Veteran wicket-keeper has something unique in him; nobody reads the game better than him. Dhoni has been selected in the ICC ODI Team of the Year a record 8 times, 5 times as captain. In 2020 he was also named captain of the ICC ODI & T20I team of the Decade. Because of his brilliant reading of the game and leadership, CSK has been a part of the 8 IPL finals. Captain Cool has scored 4669 runs in IPL at an average of 40.25.
2. Ravindra Jadeja
Sir Jadeja has been a core member of the squad since 2012; he was also the most expensive player of that auction (Rs 9.8 crore). Jadeja is always the go-to man for MS Dhoni whenever he needs to stop the run flow or break any crucial partnership. He is one of the best all-rounders India has ever had who is not just good with bat & ball but is an extraordinary fielder. Jaddu is also on the list of top-10 wicket-takers in IPL, with 120 wickets in 192 matches and has an impressive economy rate of 7.62.
3. Suresh Raina
The top-order batsman is at number 3 in the top run-scorer list of IPL with 5491 runs. Since the start of IPL 2008, Raina has been a treat to watch for the viewers. He is probably one of the best players to play a lofted drive towards the extra cover. Although the player is getting old, he looks fit and if he can maintain the zeal to perform, then CSK team management won't mind retaining him for few more years.
4. Sam Curran
Curran was bought by CSK in last year auction for INR 5.5 cr. Since then, the player has settled well in the team. He had a decent display the previous year, in which he chipped 13 wickets in 14 matches. In the current season of IPL, Sam has taken 9 wickets in 7 games with an economy rate of 8.68. Also, he has looked quite mature this season with his decision making and consistent bowling in the right areas.
5. Faf du Plessis
In international cricket, it is challenging to find a replacement for a consistent opener like Faf. The man is 36 years old, but he bats and fields like a 25. Even in the last season's disappointing campaign for CSK, du Plessis scored 449 runs in 13 matches with an average of above 40. In the 2021 season, Faf has already scored 320 runs after 7 games and stands at number three in the orange cap race. It is going to be tough to overlook his performances for the CSK camp.
The CSK had found a perfect balance for their team this year and was progressing with full force before the pandemic put the brakes on the entire competition. Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad and all-rounder Moeen Ali did not make it to the top-5 list but are a viable option.