Four defeats in first four matches. Defending champion Chennai Super Kings is in ICU now, its fortunes on razor edge.
Ravindra Jadeja with the weight of captaincy on his shoulders and having to fill the giant shoes of MS Dhoni has appeared a man ‘lost’ on the big stage. His choice of bowlers, particularly at the Death, has backfired. He does not appear to be a man in control.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can say that the big day of the mega auction was the beginning of CSK’s troubles.
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CSK’s biggest strength last season was its opening combination of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis. They fired at the top and laid a solid foundation for the others to cut loose. Yet, CSK let du Plessis go and did not buy him back. Eventually Royal Challengers Bangalore roped in the influential du Plessis, an excellent captaincy material too, for ₹ 7 crore while CSK shelled out ₹ 6.75 crore to retain Ambati Rayudu whose best days appear to be behind him.
Shortcomings in the bowling department
CSK signed Devon Conway, a resourceful top-order batter, for a dirt cheap ₹ 1 crore but has been unable to play him after giving him just one opportunity because it has had to fill the foreign players’ slots with bowlers given its shortcomings in that department.
It must be conceded that the injury to incisive swing bowler Deepak Chahar has hurt CSK. Yet, the franchise erred by not going for impactful domestic pacemen at the auction. Mukesh Chowdhary is still a work-in-progress but CSK was forced to thrust him into the playing eleven.
Umesh Yadav went unsold in the first round of auction and CSK could have snapped him up. Also, why did the franchise not target the exciting Prasidh Krishna, when it was splashing big money on Dwayne Bravo who is not getting any younger.
And CSK had so many options from Tamil Nadu itself in Shahrukh Khan, Washington Sundar, T. Natarajan, Dinesh Karthik, and the young and promising Sai Sudarshan, but did not pick any.
Now it finds itself in a quagmire.