With just four wins in eleven games, Chennai Super Kings sit right at the bottom of the table, something that has never happened before. The men in yellow, who are three time champions, have failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the history of the Indian Premier League.
THE SHORTAGE IN DEPTH OF INDIAN BATTING :
It is no secret that Suresh Raina, the second most run getter in IPL history has played a massive role in the CSK batting lineup over the years. With Raina unavailable this season, Chennai have visibly had problems with their middle order. It is arguable to say that they stacked up on spin bowling options in the auction keeping the Chepauk wicket in mind, but that certainly does not justify for the lack of Indian batters in the squad.
Having just a handful of options to play with, Chennai have struggled to find the right balance. They have resorted to the likes of Kedar Jadhav over and over again given the lack of depth on the bench.
THE OVERLY AGING SQUAD :
The average age of this Chennai Super Kings squad is 31.41, which is substantially higher than any other side in the competition. Although the tactic of using experienced players has worked for the Super Kings in the past, it was perhaps an occasion of ‘one too many’ this year. Most of the squad had not played any competitive cricket prior to coming in the IPL which is probably why they have taken their time to settle in.
The problem now for the Super Kings is the rectification process for the next edition. With the mega auction due next year though, they will probably be optimistic for next year’s edition.
THE LACK OF FAITH IN THE YOUNGSTERS :
Both Stephen Flemming and MS Dhoni have repeatedly shown faith in the overly experienced players over the youth. Chennai’s squad manifests exactly that, they have perhaps the fewest youngsters in the competition. To make that worse, they haven’t shown any faith in the youngsters at all. The two youngsters that have however played, N Jagadeesan and Ruturaj Gaikwad have done reasonably alright. Gaikwad was played out of position in the outset of the tournament, and was dropped on the back of a couple of bad innings. He came back into the side last week, and made a match winning 65* bagging the man of the match. The unanswered question for the CSK management is why young Gaikwad was not played at the top of the order to start the tournament off.
With 22-year-old Sam Curran being the pick of the Super Kings’ players in the competition, Chennai should certainly approach the auction next year with a newer strategy.