3 reasons why CSK will not retain their IPL title

This time around it's not going to be the same old ideal story for the Superkings from Chennai.

Chennai Super Kings IPL
IPL 2018 champions Chennai Super Kings. (Photo by Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Daiwik Tadikonda

Jr. Staff Writer

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It was always going to be a dream for any team that was going to make its comeback after two long years following a disgraceful snub, to come back and win the IPL trophy in style. CSK had a fairytale comeback story and they kept their record of making it to the playoffs in all the 9 seasons that they have featured in. It was always going to be a tough ask for them to win the cup considering the fact that the average age of the CSK was the highest among all the sides in the competition, last season.

However, this time around it’s not going to be the same old ideal story for the Superkings from Chennai as their team looks highly unbalanced and unsettled owing to the ICC CWC 2019 which starts right after the cash-rich tournament. Their Key players won’t likely play the whole tournament and a few auction blunders have made their case worse. CSK might just make it to the playoffs this time around too, but there are some doubts regarding their chance of retaining the IPL trophy this time around.

Let’s discuss the 3 reasons why CSK won’t retain their IPL trophy this time around

3. Unreliable Bowling line-up

Prior to their scrub from the IPL back in 2015, CSK was a complete team with a lethal bowling attack which would deliver more often than not. While they did script a fairytale comeback, it was largely because of their batting. CSK’s bowling was a let-down for them in the previous edition of the IPL.

Deepak Chahar was impressive with the new ball but his injury meant that there were no good starters for the Chennai based outfit, with the new ball. Moreover, options in Mohit Sharma, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Lungi Ngidi and Karn Sharma is not the safest way when it comes to the middle-overs.

The death Bowling is pretty inconsistent as well given that Ngidi isn’t as experienced as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohit Sharma has been inconsistent with his lengths in those gripping final few overs for the past few years. When it comes to the spin department, Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir have been below par in the last few years and with age not on their side, they are bound to go down this time around.

Kedar Jadhav is a part-timer but one simply cannot expect to see a part-timer get wickets every time he comes on to bowl. To add to it, Bravo the death bowler has lost his ability to bowl those deceiving slower ones and the cutters and often, leaks runs at a costly rate. KM Asif, Shardul Thakur and Mohit Sharma are the backups.

Shardul Thakur is a wicket-taker but is very inconsistent with his lines in the powerplay and he wouldn’t find his name in the starting XI more often than not.

2. Difficulty in team selection

CSK have got a plethora of quality and experienced overseas players at their disposal and there shouldn’t be any doubts regarding that. For the matter of fact, Faf, Bravo, Watson and Tahir are absolutely necessary to keep the engine running smoothly and benching even any one of them, owing to injury or any other cause will disturb the team balance and that’s the price that a team has to pay when it has got quite a few quality overseas players.

Benching Faf would mean no stability in the hard-hitting middle-order of the CSK batting line-up and benching Watson or Bravo would mean the absence of a fifth bowler and a hitter at the top, in case of Watson. Tahir is a quality leggie and pips Karn Sharma when it comes to bowling tight lengths mixed with variations, and needless to say, his absence would hurt the spin department.

CSK’s bench strength is among the weakest in the tournament and it’s a serious issue for them. An injury to a key player might just derail their campaign. Moreover, their first choice backup for Dhoni is Billings and with Dhoni likely to be rested for a few games, pitching in Billings would mean dropping any one of their four main overseas players, thus disturbing the team balance. CSK will be hopeful of an injury-free campaign and that’s their best case scenario. Should anyone get injured, the team management is going to face a mountain of problems regarding their team selection.

3. Not enough backups for injury-prone overseas players

This might come off as contrary to what we established before but it makes perfect sense. For instance, Billings is the only available backup for someone as crucial as Faf du Plessis and to add to it, Billings isn’t as experienced as Faf in Indian conditions. David Willey is the only backup for Shane Watson, Imran Tahir and Lungi Ngidi and just like his teammate, Willey is pretty much inexperienced in Indian conditions and should he be injured, one might just see the CSK be defensive in their approach, something that is way out of their team character.

Faf and Watson are injury prone players and with the South African board focusing on protecting Faf ahead of the ICC CWC 2019, CSK will be utilising their first choice backup for du Plessis. The chances of CSK retaining their IPL title this time around look bleak and that’s largely due to a few auction blunders.