Chennai Super Kings, who have won four titles under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, will be eyeing a fifth trophy under their new skipper Ravindra Jadeja. Let’s look at what the best possible XI for the ‘yellow army’ can be for IPL 2022.
Openers: Devon Conway & Ruturaj Gaikwad
This year, CSK will miss one of their best openers of all-time, Faf du Plessis, who was bought by RCB in the auction. Last year, du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad scored quite a few solid opening partnerships together. But this year, Gaikwad will have to gel with his new partner Devon Conway, who bats as fearlessly as du Plessis does. He can play both a long as well as fast-paced innings. He has a strike rate of almost 140 in 20 T20 internationals.
Gaikwad, meanwhile, was in the form of his life last year. The IPL 2021 Orange Cap winner has been one of Maharashtra’s batting mainstays in domestic cricket for quite a few years now. Gaikwad was retained by CSK ahead of the auction, and will be looking to make the most of the opportunity.
Middle-order: Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu & MS Dhoni
CSK’s middle order for this year is similar to the one we saw last year. Robin Uthappa is likely to bat at number 2, followed by Ambati Rayudu at number 4 and MS Dhoni at number 6. Uthappa and Rayudu chipped in with a few impressive knocks last year.
But a big question mark remains over MS Dhoni’s performances. The former CSK skipper has not been able to wield the bat like he did in his prime, and it remains to be seen if he can unleash the old finisher in him this year. Dhoni is likely to bat at number six, like he has been doing for the last few seasons. With the responsibility of captaincy not on his shoulders any more, the wicketkeeper batsman will be looking to play a lot more freely.
All-rounders: Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja & Dwayne Bravo
CSK have three quality all-rounders in Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo. Moeen Ali is likely to bat at number 3, a slot we have previously seen him occupy in the IPL. New captain Jadeja, who will bat at number 7, has been one of CSK’s trump cards over the years and the franchise will be hoping that the new responsibility of captaincy does not affect his personal performances.
Dwayne Bravo, meanwhile, is likely to bat at number five. He has been with the franchise for nearly a decade and is expected to play a crucial role with both the bat and ball.
Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Rajvardhan Hangargekar & Adam Milne
The bowling department is one area in which CSK will see maximum new faces this season. Last year, the team’s bowling duties were performed by Shardul Thakur, Josh Hazlewood and Deepak Chahar among others. But Thakur and Hazlewood will represent their new franchises this season.
For IPL 2022, the three bowlers likely to make it to the playing XI are Chahar, Rajvardhan Hangargekar and Adam Milne. Dwaine Pretorious and Chris Jordan are the other options CSK have at their disposal, but they will likely go with Milne as he has shown better consistency than the other two.