- An Unrivalled IPL Record
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have the best IPL record of any franchise since the tournament began in 2008. Their record reads as follows:
- A Well-Balanced & Settled Squad
According to head coach Stephen Fleming in a recent interview, the success of Chennai Super Kings’ is based upon “an excellent captain”, “outstanding Indian players” and “quality international players around that” who have coupled together to develop a “very strong team bond over the years”.
The captain to whom he is referring to is, of course, India’s World Cup winning captain MS Dhoni. Beloved by the Indian public, Dhoni is an exceptional player and inspirational leader with valuable experience in winning silverwear. Around him, CSK has a nucleus of top Indian talent including R Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and Wriddhiman Saha. A “Mini Team India” as they’ve been dubbed in some quarters. High quality international talent is also on hand in the form of Australians Michael Hussey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Ben Laughlin and Dirk Nannes; South Africans Francois “Faf” du Plessis, Albie Morkel and Christophen Morris, Trinidad’s Dwayne Barvo and Jason Holder of the West Indies.
And of course, let’s not forgot the man who Shane Warne once called the “best captain in world cricket” – head coach Stephen Fleming – who has certainly formed a large part of the success enjoyed by CSK over recent years.
- Non-Availability of Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu
With concerns over the treatment of Tamils in Sri Lanka, a political decision has been taken to exclude Sri Lankans from participation in games played in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu this year. As Chennai is located in Tamil Nadu, this decision effectively means that no Sri Lankan players will feature in any of Chennai’s home games or in any other IPL game hosted at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium this season (such as the first qualifier and eliminator which are both scheduled to be played there).
For the Super Kings, the decision leaves them very lightly affected as only Nuwan Kulasekara and Akhila Dhananjaya (both not sure of regular starting positions in any event) are unavailable to play at home. By contrast, many visiting teams will be significantly affected by the decision to render key players non-available in Chennai – including several captains – such as Mahela Jayawardene (Delhi Daredevils), Thisara Perara and Kumar Sangakkara (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians), Angelo Matthews and Ajantha Mendis (Pune Warriors), Tillakaratne Dilshan (Royal Challengers), Sachithra Senanayake (Kolkata Knight Riders) and Kusal Perera (Rajasthan Royals).
- Injury to Faf
Francois du Plessis has been ruled out of action for the first 4 weeks of the competition, due to a back injury, which creates a weaker top order for CSK than would otherwise be the case. In a tournament which runs from the 3rd of April to the 26th of May only, this is a significant period to miss – although it does leave him potentially available for the latter stages of the competition.