When you are writing about a team like CSK that too when they are returning after 2 years your thinking canal gets choked by too many things and you find it difficult to choose among your thoughts to start off with. The yellow jersey, whistle, Thala Dhoni, and Chinna Thala Raina everything is back to the den with their lion. It’s all set for them, with fans and Dhoni himself, emotional to see their team roaring once again. No team has been as consistent as CSK have been with winning 2 titles out of 8 editions of IPL they played in. You know how strong a team is when, even at a look of their probable 10, you feel the team has been completed with no need for 11th. Also, with magician Dhoni leading the side once again, impassioned CSK and Indian fans would be feeling nostalgic. With fans in thousands coming to see even a practice game, it would be as scarce as hen’s teeth for opponents to find support in Chennai.
Though under Dhoni you can’t ascertain anything, you can be sure of one thing that there will be nearly zero changes in the team which would play. If you look at the squad there can be different possible combinations with many backups available. Starting with the top order I feel it would be Murli Vijay opening with Shane Watson, though there would be people going with Faf over Vijay I feel, looking at the history of CSK, Vijay and Faf who have played at first and fourth position respectively would continue doing so. At 3 without a second thought in mind will be their favourite and key batsman, Raina, whose shoulders will once again be carrying the loads for CSK. At 4, in my opinion, we would be seeing Faf more often with Dhoni floating from 4 to 7 followed by Jadhav, Bravo, and Jadeja at any slot ranging from 5 to 8 whichever position Dhoni finds best for them as per the situation there in the middle. With Watto, Bravo, Jadhav, Raina, and Jadeja providing five bowling options with 2 full-time bowlers in first eight, a team would be confident to try different options available. So, down at 9 to fill one overseas slot we might see any of the three overseas bowling options among Tahir, Wood, and Lungi. Though Tahir would be my choice we may see Mark Wood on pitches offering help to seamers. Or, you may see fans dancing on the beats of the song “Lungi Dance” when Lungi Ngidi knocks off the bails, just to add fun to the game. After that, it would be Shardul Thakur at 10. And, at last position, depending on who plays among Wood, Ngidi, and Tahir, it would either be a spinner be it Harbhajan or Karn, or it would be Chahar to fill third seamer’s slot in case Tahir plays as the fourth overseas player.
Talking specifically of Jadeja, I am getting a hunch that we may see him bat at 4 during the course of the tournament. While Jadeja and Raina will be playing the key roles for CSK, I will be watching out for the guy who though retired from the international arena but still possessing the mettle to win games for his team with his batting, whose two-three overs during bowling will hold the key to turn games in favour of Super Kings. Yes, to me, the player to watch out for will be Shane Watson.
Tentative playing XI:
1.) Murli Vijay 2.) Shane Watson 3.) Suresh Raina 4.) Faf du Plessis 5.) MS Dhoni 6.) Jadeja 7.) Jadhav 8.) DJ Bravo 9.) Tahir/Mark Wood / Ngidi 10.) Shardul Thakur 11.) Deepak Chahar/ Harbhajan / Karn Sharma