IPL 2023:CSK is now the all-rounder’s army since the arrival of Ben Stokes.As the league’s 16th season begins, it appears like CSK has taken a page from the playbook of Mumbai Indians, its main competition in terms of trophy success.
The Chennai Super Kings were derided as “dad’s army” prior to the 2018 IPL season and upon their return from a two-year suspension following the match-fixing scandal. With a 34-year-old team average, even the calm skipper MS Dhoni had expressed his concerns.
“You had to maintain the guys in shape because of their age group, which was clearly a problem. Prior to the championship game, Dhoni would explain,
“We had to take care of the resources and make sure that the best XI was available for selection when we came to the business end of the tournament. Yes, in a format thought to be appropriate for the youngest, the oldest side of all managed to win it all.
It happened repeatedly. Thirteen members of the CSK team were 30 years of age or older in 2021. Even so, a fourth championship was captured. The so-called “dad’s army” wasn’t anything to mess with. But in a manner, they needed a makeover: a new line of players to carry the strain; a fresh approach to winning games.
Going into the 16th season of the league, it appears like CSK has taken a page from Mumbai Indians’ playbook, who are their main opponents in terms of trophy success. CSK are dependent on all-rounders, much like the Rohit Sharma-led team was during their previous two auction cycles.
With the Pandy brothers and Kieron Pollard, Mumbai has its own power trio. Ben Stokes was brought in to support Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja, who were essential to their success in 2021.
Ali has also been crucial to the side and produced instant impact performances in his debut season in 2021, while Jadeja’s services to the club do not need to be highlighted. In CSK’s last title triumph, the pair contributed a combined 584 runs and 19 wickets.
Stokes being wedged in gives some much-needed punch as Ali consolidates fast runs at number three and Jadeja takes up the famed finishing chores further down the batting order.
He would provide CSK another bowling option, which MS Dhoni has always prized as captain. (Even if CSK hitting coach Mike Hussey confirmed that the England Test captain will start the season exclusively as a specialist hitter due to a knee injury management.
Shivam Dube, who is very skilled with the ball, had a second coming for his IPL career with 289 runs at a strike rate of 156.22. Then there is Deepak Chahar, who has shown to be valuable with the bat in addition to being CSK’s top swing merchant.
Rajvardhan Hangargekar can speed up a speed gun’s heartbeats while simultaneously tonking the ball far, as he did in last year’s U19 World Cup victory for India.CSK already had multi-taskers on staff. Stokes’ acquisition just raises the level of excellence in that squad.
The Impact Player regulation in the IPL will go into effect in the 2023 season. The equivalent of a replacement in football in cricket. Something that refutes the idea put out earlier this year by Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting about the value of all-rounders.
“You don’t need to select all-rounders now that you can name a squad that is strong in bowling or batting and just remove one out to make room for the other.
“I don’t see many teams using the guy who might bat at seven and bowl an over or two this year unless they’re absolutely world-class and they’re getting picked either as a batsman or as a bowler, and not as a bits-and-pieces player,” But on the other hand, CSK have performed best while abiding by the recognised norm.
MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Maheesh Theekshana, Prashant Solanki, Maheet Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes