Chennai Super Kings Season Preview: Marquee Players, Players to Watch Out and More

After a disappointing season last year, MS Dhoni's side will look to clinch their 4th IPL title in 2021.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 17 March 2021 10:37 am

Chennai Super Kings are one of the most successful franchises in history of Indian Premier League. MS Dhoni-led side has won three IPL titles while also finishing as runners-up five times. The franchise has a massive fan-base and are one of the most popular teams in the tournament. In their 11 seasons of participation, they have qualified for the play-offs 10 times which just reflects their consistency in terms of performance and results.

The franchise has added some exciting names in the form of Moeen Ali, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hari Nishanth, Robin Uthappa and Cheteshwar Pujara. With a charismatic leader, an ambitious coach and a hungry-looking squad, CSK will be one of the teams to watch out for this season.

Looking back at IPL 2020

CSK had undoubtedly their worst IPL campaign in 2020. The franchises failed to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since inception of the tournament in 2008. Their season started in the most unfortunate manner after COVID-19 outbreak in the camp. Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina opted out of the last season and the franchise just couldn't recover from the early setback they faced off the field.

With most of their retired players coming to the tournament on the back of playing very-less cricket, CSK struggled to get going. Experienced players like Shane Watson, MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu and Imran Tahir were not at their usual best as the franchise finished the season with only 6 wins in 12 matches. They ended the leagues stages at 7th position, which was their worst finish ever in the tournament.

Batting Order

The batting was one of the main reasons for CSK's failure last season. However, it looks a completely different outfit this season. While they used to rely on their veteran batters in past, the responsibility now lies on the young shoulders of Ruturaj Gaikwad and N Jagadeesan. The duo impressed in the limited opportunities they got last season and have been consistently doing well in the domestic circuit as well. Apart from them, the Yellow Army will have Mr. IPL - Suresh Raina back for IPL 2021. Robin Uthappa and Faf du Plessis will play a vital role at top of the order.

Meanwhile, skipper MS Dhoni is also looking in good touch in the ongoing camp. Talking about all-rounders, they have proven names in the form of Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Dwayne Bravo, Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham. CSK has also added India's Test star Cheteshwar Pujara to provide more solidity to their line-up. With so many exciting names, it is certainly a very strong batting outfit for the franchise going into IPL 2021.

Bowling Attack

The franchise had a pretty strong bowling line-up last season and they have shown trust in those players. Indian duo of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur will be key for them this season. They have two fantastic overseas bowlers in the form of Lungi Ngidi and Josh Hazlewood. Apart from Sam Curran and Dwayne Bravo, they have also added Moeen Ali to give them more depth in the all-round department.

The franchise has one of the strongest spin-bowling units with the likes of Imran Tahir, R Sai Kishore, Karn Sharma, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja and Krishnappa Gowtham. With a perfect balance of experience and youth, CSK has a very formidable bowling attack with variety and depth.

Leadership group

Led by one of the best captains to have ever graced the game of cricket, CSK has thrived under MS Dhoni. While it could be his last season as skipper of the franchise, the veteran would want to finish it off in style. Thala will also have the support of Chinna Thala Suresh Raina in this season. With names like Faf du Plessis and Ravindra Jadeja in the side, the leadership core of CSK is certainly really strong.

Coming to the coaching staff, Stephen Fleming has been the driving force for the franchise. CSK also has cricketing minds like Michael Hussey, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Eric Simons in their backroom staff. It can certainly be implied that there is no dearth of leadership qualities in the camp of Chennai-based franchise.

Marquee Players:

Suresh Raina: Matches - 193 | Runs - 5368 | SR - 137.1 | Avg - 33.3

MS Dhoni: Matches - 204 | Runs - 4362 | SR - 136.8 | Avg - 41

Faf du Plessis: Matches - 84 | Runs - 2302 | SR - 129.2 | Avg - 32.9

Deepak Chahar: Matches - 48 | Wickets - 45 | ER - 7.62 | Best - 3/15

Players to watch out for:

Ruturaj Gaikwad: Matches - 6 | Runs - 204 | SR - 120.7 | Avg - 51

Ravindra Jadeja: Matches - 184| Runs - 2159 | SR - 126.5 | Wickets - 114

Shardul Thakur: Matches - 45 | Wickets - 46 | ER - 8.92 | Best - 3/19

Krishnappa Gowtham: Matches - 24| Runs - 186 | SR - 169.1 | Wickets - 13

Full Chennai Super Kings squad for IPL 2021:

MS Dhoni (c/wk), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan (wk), Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, R Sai Kishore, Krishnappa Gowtham, Moeen Ali, Cheteshwar Pujara, K Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishaanth, M Harisankar Reddy.

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