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Five India players who helped turn Chennai Super Kings’ IPL fortunes around

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Now that the dust has settled, with Chennai Super Kings having posed for all the countless photos with their latest IPL trophy and their players having gone their separate ways, it’s time to reflect on how they completed one of their greatest campaigns.

Last year, CSK were the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention, the first time they have missed the final four in their history. The most cunning of gamblers might have predicted this win a long time ago, betting on CSK on Novibet, but they would have been one of the few.

Or perhaps not. The love for CSK, and specifically the love and support for their flagship-bearing captain, MS Dhoni, runs deep. With him at the helm, no comeback is too improbable. And under his careful watch, several stars have shone brightly.

Ruturaj Gaikwad

A player from CSK had twice won the Orange Cap before the 2021 season, but Ruturaj Gaikwad is the first Indian from the team to win the coveted prize. He hasn’t just scored big, either, but scored quickly too, with a strike rate of 136.26, and a stunning century crowning his season. Though not an Indian player, Faf du Plessis should get a worthy round of applause for his stellar opening support with Gaekwad.

Robin Uthappa

Another player who has been a team favourite is Robin Uthappa. He started out his IPL career for Mumbai Indians, and has also represented Rajasthan Royals, Pune Warriors and Kolkata Knight Riders. He joined CSk ahead of the 2021 season, and though he only played four games for the yellow-and-gold team, his experience has proved crucial.

Ravindra Jadeja

Ravindra Jadeja is not just one of the best India players in the IPL. He’s one of the best all-format cricketers in the world. In 2021, he reached another level, averaging 76 at a strike-rate of 146 with the bat, and taking 13 wickets and maintaining an economy of 7.06 with the ball. Astonishing numbers

Shardul Thakur

Shardul Thakur has become a key cog in the CSK attack, taking 21 wickets across 16 matches with an economy rate of 8.80 at IPL 2021. He has a knack of making vital breakthroughs, with an array of variations which he knows just when to use. He made his debut for Kings XI Punjab in 2015 and has since played for Rising Pune Supergiant too, but has now become a trusted soldier for Dhoni.

Deepak Chahar

The young right-armer played 15 matches and claimed 14 wickets in the 2021 IPL, and he has earned 19 India caps thus far. A classical swing bowler, he is rated by some as a potential limited-overs attack leader for the national team in years to come.

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