Here is a look at the CSK team for the 2014 IPL edition - and my take on it.
- Brendon McCullum, Faf Du Plessis, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Smith, Mithun Manhas and Baba Aparajit are the pure play batsmen
- Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, John Hastings, Vijay Shankar are the all rounders
- Dhoni is the keeper
- Mohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Ishwar Pandey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Samuel Badree, Matt Henry, Ronit More, Pavan Negi are the pure play bowlers
I think the following players will be automatic selections - atleast for the initial games: Dhoni, Raina, Bravo, McCullum, Faf Du Plessis, Ashwin, Jadeja, Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey.
Matt Henry, Ben Hilfenhaus, Samuel Badree and Dwayne Smith will compete for the 4th international player slot - based on whether Dhoni wants to play an extra bowler or batsman.
There are a lot of all rounders in the squad. Even though Dhoni doesn’t prefer it, I think there will be a lot more changes in the playing XI this year for CSK - it will take a while before Dhoni settles in on a preferred XI.
The batting looks solid with tremendous power - big hitters who can post massive scores on good batting wickets. But with guys like Hussey and Badri gone, I wonder who will provide stability in low scoring games.
The bowling looks pretty weak to me - even with the two Indian spinners Ashwin and Jadeja in the attack. The fast bowling department looks particularly weak. Dhoni cannot count on this bowling squad to win matches for him. He will probably look at setting reasonable targets for the bowlers and ask them to execute on set plans. It will be interesting to see how Ishwar Pandey bowls. This might be the seeding ground for him before he goes on to play for India.
Overall, this team does not look threatening on paper. However, CSK so far has had an impressive IPL track record. Will the Dhoni magic work this time as well …Let us see if he can get them to the semi-finals yet again.