IPL 2023, CSK: Squad analysis, schedule, Probable XI, and verdict
After a disappointing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 season, four-time winners Chennai Super Kings will be aiming to offer substance in the upcoming campaign. MS Dhoni-led CSK finished 9th last season in the 10-team table. With home and away format returning for the league stage, CSK will be hoping to make Chennai their fortress. CSK have a solid squad and are the favorites.
Key signings for CSK at IPL 2023 mini-auction
CSK roped in Ben Stokes for a commanding fee of Rs. 16.25 crore. Besides, they got Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Kyle Jamieson, Ajay Mandal, and Bhagath Varma. Jamieson was recently ruled out of IPL 2023 and that saw CSK replace the Kiwi star with an uncapped South African player Sisanda Magala.
Run in previous seasons
CSK have been four-time champions, winning the title in 2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021. Besides, they have also ended as runners-up in 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2019 respectively. CSK were the semi-finalist in 2009 and exited in the playoffs in 2014. Meanwhile, CSK have finished second-last on two counts - 2020 and 2022. In 2016 and 2017, CSK didn't feature (suspension).
CSK's squad for IPL 2023
CSK squad: MS Dhoni (c), Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Chowdhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Simarjeet Singh, Deepak Chahar, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Bhagath Varma.
A look at CSK's schedule (Part 1)
March 31: Gujarat Titans vs Chennai Super Kings, Ahmedabad (7:30 PM IST) April 3: Chennai Super Kings vs Lucknow Super Giants, Chennai (7:30 PM IST) April 8: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai (7:30 PM IST) April 12: Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Chennai (7:30 PM IST) April 17: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Chennai Super Kings, Bengaluru (7:30 PM IST)
A look at CSK's schedule (Part 2)
April 21: Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai (7:30 PM IST) April 23: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST) April 27: Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings, Jaipur (7:30 PM IST) April 30: Chennai Super Kings vs Punjab Kings, Chennai (3:30 PM IST) May 4: Lucknow Super Giants vs Chennai Super Kings, Lucknow (3:30 PM IST)
A look at CSK's schedule (Part 3)
May 6: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, Chennai (3:30 PM IST) May 10: Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals, Chennai (7:30 PM IST) May 14: Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai (7:30 PM IST) May 20: Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings, Delhi (3:30 PM IST)
CSK Probable XI for IPL 2023
CSK Probable XI: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar, Mukesh Chowdhury
The strengths of CSK in IPL 2023
CSK have a solid opening pair of Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad. The middle order gets the desired touch of seasoned specialists. All-rounders are world-class in the CSK setup. Spin is CSK's strength with options ranging from Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Mitchell Santner, and Maheesh Theekshana. Deepak Chahar leads the pace unit with an impressive Mukesh Chowdhury to back him up.
What are the weaknesses?
CSK are limited in terms of weaknesses. MSD's form with the bat could be questionable as he doesn't play besides IPL. Stokes will be playing with a knee issue and CSK will hope he doesn't hamper the same to elevate problems.
Verdict: CSK have the credentials to claim their 5th honor
CSK can be considered favorites to win the IPL 2023 honor. The strengths of CSK outlast the disadvantages. A sorted batting unit that goes deep can aid CSK. Also, the likes of Jadeja, Dhoni, and Shivam Dube can do well as finishers. CSK's overall balance and a strong bench make them look settled. MSD's leadership is another major plus.