The CSK had dearly missed the presence of Suresh Raina in the IPL 2020. Raina had pulled out of the event citing personal reasons and in his absence the Chennai team did not have a batsman who can push scoring the middle-orders and a useful bowler who can slip in a couple of overs. They have an experienced batting line-up consisting of Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Robin Uthappa, Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran and Ruturaj Gaikwad. K Gowtham too can be a very useful addition to CSK.
Their bowling unit including the likes of Lungi Ngidi, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar too can be very potent. Many of them have played under all imaginable circumstances and that big-occasion experience can come handy for the Super Kings.
Pacer Josh Hazlewood has pulled out of IPL 2021 for personal reasons. Similarly, several of their stars like Dhoni, Raina, Tahir, Rayudu are coming into the IPL 2021 with almost no game time. Jadeja is returning from an injury lay-off and Dwayne Bravo powers are palpably diminishing.
CSK has relied a lot of spin in the past but this time they are playing in Mumbai and the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium is not really a spin ally. They need to reinvent their strategy. They are facing the dangerous Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2021 opener and there is no space for a breather for the CSK.
3. Full squad
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, N Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shardul Thakur, Sam Curran, R Sai Kishore, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujra, Harishankar Reddy, Bhagath Varma, C Hari Nishanth.
4. Best Possible 11
Robin Uthappa, Faf du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Ruturaj Gaikwad, MS Dhoni (C/WK), Moeen Ali/Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Curran, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir/Lungi Ngidi.
With due respect to their experience, the CSK could be struggling to enter the play-offs this season too with an ageing unit and frontline stars without any real game time.