September 17, 2020 12:56:37 pm
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s return to aggressive cricket can be the extra keenly-watched sub-plot of the Chennai Super Kings’ IPL marketing campaign, which hit a tough patch fairly early due to a few main pullouts and COVID-19 circumstances within the contingent.
The playoff regulars will open the event with what is anticipated to be an intense conflict in opposition to defending champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday in Abu Dhabi.
In the run-up to this showdown, the facet has battled 13 COVID-19 circumstances, together with two gamers, and pullouts by the senior duo of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh attributable to private causes.
But as Virender Sehwag aptly put it, the main focus is prone to be solely on Dhoni’s return to the sphere precisely 34 days after he known as time on his worldwide profession.
Having led CSK to a few titles and eight finals, nobody is aware of the IPL pitch higher than Chennai’s very personal “Thala”, whose most utilisation of obtainable assets is the stuff of legends.
It can be a brand new event for Dhoni in barely unfamiliar environment, away from “Fort Chepauk” and with out his most trusted lieutenant in Canary Yellow, Raina.
It won’t be simple to change a batting line-up of 10 seasons during which Raina was the stablest and probably the most influential No.3 within the historical past of IPL.
Save for the final season, when the left-hander was in horrendous kind, Raina has been excellent for the facet. It was credit score to Dhoni and his marshalling of assets that CSK nonetheless reached the ultimate final 12 months with none tangible contribution from their “Chinna Thala”.
One may not see Dhoni taking part in the IPL past 2021, which is one other six months from now, however for followers this version, specifically, may very well be a captaincy master-class when it comes to technique with a core workforce of 35-year-olds.
The coinage ‘Dad’s Army’, nonetheless indulgent it’d sound, has a adverse connotation however this bunch of ‘Oldies’ imagine in good work greater than onerous work.
So, whereas Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson are anticipated to open the innings, Faf du Plessis can are available at No 3.
The skipper, on quite a few events, has promoted himself to No.4 and can be blissful to get set taking part in just a few extra balls.
The cheeky Kedar Jadhav is anticipated to play at No.5 and can be one of many designated finishers on this line-up together with Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja at Nos 6 and seven respectively.
This is a line-up which is nice for the sluggish tracks in UAE, a skil it has demonstrated again and again in Chepauk.
Once Sam Curran is eligible to play after the mandated quarantine, he generally is a floater within the batting order. He can even be useful together with his swing bowling.
CSK has been a spin heavy workforce and can go in with three specialist tweakers. Mitchell Santner and Piyush Chawla are the specialists in competition for first XI spots and they’re going to have Ravindra Jadeja for firm.
Lungi Ngidi and Deepak Chahar, who has recovered from COVID-19, are the frontline pacers who’re anticipated to begin.
In case Chahar is just not absolutely match match, his like for like substitute can be Shardul Thakur similar to Imran Tahir for Chawla and Josh Hazlewood (as soon as accessible) for Ngidi.
Given the stability of the facet, it wouldn’t be a shock to see CSK defy all odds to compete of their eleventh play-off in as many IPL appearances.
Squad: MS Dhoni (captain, wk), M Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Josh Hazlewood, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, N Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Monu Kumar, R Sai Kishore, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Karn Sharma.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and keep up to date with the most recent headlines
For all the most recent Sports News, obtain Indian Express App.