Chennai Super Kings will enter the 17th season of the IPL as the defending champions. Here’s an in-depth preview of CSK ahead of the IPL 2024 auction including their strengths, weaknesses, purse remaining, players to target and more.
Since the inception of IPL in 2008, Chennai Super Kings have won a record five IPL titles, jointly tied with the Mumbai Indians, played a record ten finals and have qualified for the playoffs 12 out of 14 times across the seasons, more than any other team. They are arguably the most decorated franchise in the tournament’s history despite having had a two-year suspension in 2015 for their involvement in a corruption scandal.
The franchise has always backed their players to come good, and this year, it has been no different as they retained their core, barring a few releases to boost their purse ahead of the IPL 2024 mini-auction. In one of the most high-profile releases, they have let go of all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Chennai Super Kings IPL 2024 auction preview: Trades, full squad, purse & slots remaining
Robin Uthappa’s switch from Rajasthan Royals to the Chennai Super Kings ahead of the 2021 auction was the only trade in the franchise’s history. They haven’t made any movements in the transfer market this year despite actively looking for Ambati Rayudu’s replacement in the retention window.
Ben Stokes, Dwaine Pretorius, Bhagath Varma, Subhranshu Senapati, Ambati Rayudu (Retired), Akash Singh, Kyle Jamieson and Sisanda Magala.
Squad before auction
MS Dhoni (c) (wk), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Deepak Chahar, Maheesh Theekshana, Mukesh Choudhary, Mitchell Santner, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Simarjeet Singh, Matheesha Pathirana, Tushar Deshpande, Prashant Solanki, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Ajay Mandal.
Purse remaining (in INR)
6 (3 overseas)
Chennai Super Kings IPL 2024 auction preview: Strengths
A shrew mastermind
At 42, MS Dhoni is synonymous with tactical brilliance. While his finishing prowess has waned over the years, he is still an astute captain, besides being lightning-fast when standing up to the stumps. He reinvented himself to a new role lately, playing vital cameos for his team in the triumphant 2023 season.
Plenty of experience
CSK became the champions immediately after making their comeback in 2018 after a hiatus of two years, defying the adage that ‘T20 is a game of youngsters’ as the average age of the core team comprising Dhoni (36), Ambati Rayudu (32), Suresh Raina (31), Dwayne Bravo (34), Shane Watson (37) and Harbhajan Singh (37) was 34.5 years during that season. That they value experience has paid them rich dividends over the years.
A potent spin attack
The Super Kings’ squad is tailor-made for the spin-conducive Chepauk pitch. A spin arsenal comprising Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, and Mitchell Santner, combined with the enigma of Maheesh Theekshana, is bound to test opposition.
Chennai Super Kings IPL 2024 auction preview: Weaknesses
Devoid of brute force in the middle and lower-middle order
The CSK batting line-up has a soft underbelly in the form of a lack of out-and-out finishers who can turn the game on its head when the asking rate climbs. While Jadeja, Dube and Ali have collectively delivered the bulk of their scoring in the death overs, they are yet to find someone of Dhoni’s calibre from his vintage years.
Lack of a fast-bowling spearhead
Last year, CSK made the most of their homegrown pace attack despite being thin on experience. Tushar Deshpande, who is yet to play for India, took the most wickets (21) for the side, while Matheesha Pathirana, who has only represented Sri Lanka in a solitary T20I, chimed in with 19 scalps. Although the gamble worked, the franchise will look to snaffle up a quality death over pacer of international reputation.
Chennai Super Kings IPL 2024 auction preview: Potential first XI
Potential first XI: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinky Rahane, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande/ Mukesh Choudhury, Maheesh Theekshana, Matheesha Pathirana
Impact player: Mitchell Santner, Rajvardhan Hangargekar
Chennai Super Kings IPL 2024 auction preview: Players to target
Fast bowlers: CSK’s first job in the auction will be to address their most visible chink in the armour, which is the absence of an overseas pacer of repute. RCB’s release of Josh Hazlewood has created a chance for CSK to link up with their former player, leading to a likely neck-and-neck bidding war. They may also eye up Mitchell Starc, who is back in the auction after featuring for RCB in 2014 and 2015.
South Africa’s speedster Gerald Coetzee is another prospect they can target, given his ability to provide wickets in short bursts, something he did during the World Cup 2023.
Middle-order Indian batter: The approaching auction could see CSK breaking the bank for Tamil Nadu’s explosive middle-order batter Shahrukh Khan to fill in for the departure of Rayudu. Karun Nair and Manish Pandey will also be in their pecking order if they fail to sign up Shahrukh.
Overseas all-rounder: The franchise may bid for the promising New Zealand all-rounders Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell to cover up for Stokes’ void.
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