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>IPL 2010 Team Preview: Chennai Super Kings

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The Chennai Super Kings and its fans will be hoping to turn things around during the third edition of the Indian Premier League beginning March 12th and make up for their loss in the finals of inaugural tournament to Shane Warne’s inspired Royals and the semi final loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2009 edition in South Africa.

On paper they have to be one of the strongest and most well balanced of teams in the league led by India’s captain cool MS Dhoni. They have been rated as this year’s “most valuable team” in the IPL with a brand value of $48.4 million (app Rs.224 crores), which can only add to the pressure of getting their hands on the title that has eluded them.

CSK are off to a good start as they have an embarrassment of riches in the batting department with Australia’s Mathew Hayden at the top of the order. He was the winner of the “Orange Cap” in 2009, awarded to the highest run getter, finishing with an Average of 52 and a Strike Rate of 144.81 from 12 games. With his retirement from all other forms of the game, a well rested and raring to go Hayden can give most opening bowlers sleepless nights before a ball is bowled. Along with wicketkeeper batsman Parthiv Patel for company, the two can be counted on to get the team off to a rollicking start.

If you are lucky to get Hayden early, there is only more bad news to follow with hard hitting MS Dhoni who is all wrists as he mercilessly bludgeons the ball. If there are any questions about his form this season, one just has to watch his knock against a stunned South African attack in the second game of the recently concluded ODI series.

The very talented and growing in confidence Suresh Raina finished the 2009 IPL season as the second highest scorer in his team and will look to hold on to his no. 4 spot. His electric fielding in the covers and regular shy at the stumps, make him the kind of player that can turn a game around. Australia’s Michael Hussey gave the 2009 edition a miss in order to focus on the then upcoming Ashes series and has opted not to play this year with his call-up to the national squad for the series against New Zealand. Hussey played just four games for the Super Kings in the inaugural tournament and was among the top run getters averaging 84. Tasmanian right hand bat George Bailey played just 3 games in the 2009 edition without an impact and will probably warm the benches this time too.

Chennai has a host of talented all-rounders to choose from their foreign pool with Kiwi Jacob Oram (currently injured), South African Albie Morkel and its two new signings in the person of Justin Kemp and the exciting new talent from Sri Lanka Thisara Perera. South African Kemp was last seen playing for the Hyderabad Heroes in the Indian Cricket League, but with players from the disbanded rebel league being eligible to play for their country and therefore the IPL, Kemp was picked up for $100,000. It will remain to be seen how many games the new signings get to play given the four foreign player restriction in the playing XI and the wealth of talent and experience available. England’s Andrew Flintoff will miss out this year as he recovers from knee surgery that keeps him out cricket till July 2010. Freddy, as he is known to his mates, was picked up for a record $1.55 million in 2009 as was his teammate Kevin Pietersen, who went to Royal Challengers Bangalore.

When it comes to the bowling, MS Dhoni will have at his disposal the ever economical and lethal off-spin of Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan, who has hopefully recovered from a finger injury that kept him out of cricket since December 2009. Muralitharan and Albie Morkel were the leading wicket takers for CSK in 2009 with 14 wickets apiece. The gentle medium swing of India’s Laxmipathy Balaji will once again be on display as he strives to prove his fitness, after recurring injuries starting in 2004 banished him to the wilderness of Indian cricket. We will need to wait and see if mercurial South African seamer Makhaya Ntini is given a chance, having played just 9 games in his two years with the team and the franchisee might just prefer the right arm seam of Punjab’s Manpreet Singh Gony. The 6 foot 4 inch Gony has taken 22 wickets in 23 games played for the Super Kings so far and is no muck with the bat and capable of some lusty hits at the bottom of the order. The left-arm pace of Sri Lanka’s Thilan Thushara was on display for a couple of games in 2009 and he made an impact, taking 3 wickets at a strike rate of 16. New Indian call-up Sudeep Tyagi is also part of the Chennai set-up and may get a few games at the expense of Balaji and Gony should they not start well in the tournament. The surprise of 2009 for the Super Kings was Goa’s Shadab Jakati, bowling his slow left- arm orthodox. Jakati was ultra-consistent in the middle overs can be counted on to provide the breakthroughs by pegging the run rate and frustrating the opposition. Murali and Jakati stand between R Ashwin and a place in the playing XI, expect the young Indian offie to break into the side over the course of the four weeks.

What remains to be seen is if MS Dhoni dons the wicket-keepers gloves, making room for an accomplished batsman at the cost of Parthiv Patel. But that might only happen if Michael Hussey makes himself available for the tournament which would mean Morkel, Oram or Perera sitting out. This in turn could make way for C Ganapathy, who was one of the leading all-rounders in the Ranji Trophy this season.

Squad of 23:
Batsmen: Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, George Bailey, Subramaniam Badrinath, Arun Karthik, Hemang Badani
All Rounders: M S Dhoni (Capt), Albie Morkel, Jacob Oram, Parthiv Patel, Ganapathy Chandrasekhar, Thisara Perera, Justin Kemp
Bowlers: Muttiah Muralitharan, Manpreet Gony, Shadab Jakati, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sudeep Tyagi, Thilan Thushara, Makhaya Ntini, Laxmipathy Balaji

Staff: Coach: Stephen Flemming, Bowling Coach: Venkatesh Prasad, Trainer: Gregory King

Likely Playing 11: Mathew Hayden , Parthiv Patel , MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, Albie Morkel, Justin Kemp, Shadab Jakati, MS Gony, L Balaji, M Muralitharan

Players to watch:
Ravichandran Ashwin (India): This young turk from Tamil Nadu will be desperate to make the playing XI from time to time having bowled his off- breaks in just one innings in IPL 2009 at an impressive economy of 3.25 runs, grabbing a couple of wickets to boot.

Albie Morkel (South Africa): Johannes Albertus Morkel, older brother to Morne Morkel who also plays international cricket for South Africa, should be one of the regular foreign signings in the playing XI giving his handy contributions. This 6’1 all-rounder bats left-handed and bowls right-arm fast with a batting average of 30.73 and a total of 32 wickets, including a 4 wicket haul in an innings, in the IPL to date.

Thisara Perera (Sri Lanka): He made his International debut against India in 2009 and smashed the ball to all parts to finish the series with an average of 42! Bowling right-arm medium-fast, he was successful with the ball grabbing 5 wickets in 6 games giving away just 3.47 runs per over. This ambidextrous lad, (he bats left- handed) who turns 21 on April 3rd, is all set to explode onto the IPL scene.

The Chennai Super Kings will meet the reigning IPL champions the Deccan Chargers on the 14th of March on their home ground. It’s a tough first game for any side, despite honours being even, given it will be a confident Chargers looking to carry on from where they left off in 2009. Next up would be the Kolkata Knight Riders, whom they have played on just three occasions and beaten twice. Any match played at the Eden Gardens will be an exciting affair as the partisan Kolkatta fans turn up in their thousands to watch their new signing, Kiwi pacer Shane Bond, who should join the squad after completing his ODI commitments. CSK will want to get amongst the points going into their game against the Delhi Daredevils, with whom they share an even win-loss record. The Daredevils have to be one of the favourites to win the title this year having bolstered their attack with the signing of young South African pacer Wayne Parnell for a princely sum of $617,000. Games against Kings XI Punjab whom they have never lost to, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals who both enjoy a 60% success rate against them and the Mumbai Indians with whom they share an even win-loss record, will see the completion of their first set of matches. CSK will be happy to win at least 5 of those 7 games and carry that form forward into the next round of matches. The likely semi final line-up on paper looks to be between the Super Kings, the Daredevils, the Chargers and Kings XI with the title once again being Chennai’s to lose.

CSK play their home games at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk with a seating capacity of 50,000 and one would imagine the passionate Chennai fans would have a huge role to play in their team’s success. Oddly they lost 4 of the 7 games played at the Chidambaram stadium in IPL 2008 and still managed to get to the finals. That may be because the semi-finals were played in Mumbai. So much for home advantage!

Chennai Super Kings IPL 2010 Fixtures:


Schedule in Chennai
Mar 14, 2010 Sunday, Vs Deccan Chargers, 8pm
Mar 21, 2010 Sunday, Vs Punjab Kings, 8pm
Mar 31, 2010 Wednesday, Vs Royal Challengers, 4pm
Apr 03, 2010 Saturday, Vs Rajasthan Royals, 4pm
Apr 06, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Mumbai Indians, 8pm
Apr 13, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 8pm
Apr 15, 2010 Thursday, Vs Delhi Daredevils, 8pm

Schedule in Other Cities
Mar 16, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Kolkata Knight Riders, 8pm
Mar 19, 2010 Friday, Vs Delhi Daredevils, 4pm
Mar 23, 2010 Tuesday, Vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, 8pm
Mar 25, 2010 Thursday, Vs Mumbai Indians, 8pm
Mar 28, 2010 Sunday, Vs Rajasthan Royals (Ahmedabad), 4pm
Apr 10, 2010 Saturday, Vs Deccan Chargers (Nagpur), 4pm
Apr 18, 2010 Sunday, Vs Punjab Kings (Dharmasala), 4pm

March 9, 2010 - Posted by | Chennai Super Kings, Indian Premier League, IPL, IPL 2010, Team Preview

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