Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings are set to begin their IPL campaign this year against Delhi Capitals on April 10.
The three-time IPL champs will look to overcome their bad run last season in Dubai with a slightly changed squad.
With the highest win percentage in the leage (59.83%), the CSK are a strong contender to win the title this year.
CSK complete squad
MS Dhoni (Captain), Suresh Raina, Narayan Jagadeesabn, Ruturaj Gaikwad, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, Faf du Plessis, Shardul Thakur, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran, Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Robin Uthappa, Moeen Ali, K Gowtham, Cheteshwar Pujara, M.Harisankar Reddy, K.Bhagath Varma, Hari Nishaanth and Sai Kishore.
Players to watch out for:
England have secured Moeen Ali’s series in white-ball cricket for some time now for quite obvious reasons.
Not many players can bowl spin with a tight economy and play decent cameos with the bat as well.
This is what makes Ali’s inclusion a great bonus for the Chennai team.
He’s your go-to all-rounder in the shorter formats of cricket and he has proved that in the international arena on multiple occasions.
Being an apprentice to CSK captain MS Dhoni has been fruitful for Sam Curran in the short time he has rubbed shoulders with the Indian cricket legend.
The 22-year-old Englishman enjoys being CSK’s pace spearhead as well as their reliable power-hitting batsman in the death overs.
Curran’s 95 not out in the losing cause against India in the recent ODI series-decider was a glimpse of his talent with the bat.
He has the X-Factor that could lead Dhoni’s troops to their fourth title win.
Right-arm fast bowler Shardul Thakur will enter this year’s IPL on the back of great performances with the Indian team.
His off-cutters and pacey short balls are fruitful in T20 cricket and the Chennai management will be eager to start him the new ball this season.
Under Dhoni’s mentorship, the 29-year-old has developed himself as a reliable bowler in no time.
Ruturaj Gaikwad is a star in the making, whose batting temperament has been likened to India captain Virat Kohli.
The batting prodigy is likely to open with South Africa veteran Faf du Plessis in this IPL.
His ability to keep the scoreboard ticking and avoiding dot balls helps the opposition to exert pressure.
The 24-year-old will hope to continue where he left off last IPL, anchoring CSK to three consecutive wins with gritty fifties in the last three games.
The CSK skipper needs no introduction.
With 204 IPL games and 4,632 runs under his belt, Dhoni had stamped his authority in the league right from its inception.
The 39-year-old will have to look past his worst season that he had last year, scoring only 200 runs at an average of 25.
The world knows of the talent of the former Indian skipper and how often he can send the ball to the stands.
After a seven-year hiatus, Test cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara is elated to return to the IPL.
This year, fans should brace for a new version of Pujara that will be slamming the ball all over the park, something he is not famous for.
The right-handed batsman has been practicing power-hitting for a while in the pre-IPL nets sessions.
He was seen bringing a slight change in his technique by increasing his back-lift and making his downswing of the bat quicker than before.
This helps batters cream the ball harder and longer than the low back-lift.