The 2018 edition of the IPL is set to be a riveting affair with two heavyweight franchise in Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings making their way back into the fold after a two-year-long sabbatical.
That Chennai Super Kings is one of the most consistent franchises in the history of T20 cricket can be testified by multiple IPL and Champions League titles to go with a plethora of appearances in the Finals of a marquee event. Two reasons explain Chennai Super Kings success over the years in T20 cricket, firstly the presence of a strong core in Bravo, Raina, du Plessis who can win games for their team from any situation and secondly the franchise has been blessed with a leader in MS Dhoni whose pristine game sense and penchant for out-of-the-box thinking transformed the unit into world-beaters.
The Super Kings return to the 2018 season with a mixture of the tried and tested core along with some fresh faces that they acquired in the auctions prior to the tournament. While the team still looks competitive, there exist some chinks in their armor that may hinder their aspirations of lifting the coveted title for the third time.
Here are 3 reasons why Chennai Super Kings might not win the IPL XI:
#1 Lack of experienced fast bowlers
While the Super Kings has loaded their squad with quality spinners Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Ravindra Jadeja and Karn Sharma, it is the pedigree of their fast bowling reserves that could turn out their Achilles heel.
With Shardul Thakur, the only bowler to have some experience of playing in the shortest format of the game, foreign recruit Lungisani Ngidi, having just played 3 T20I thus far, will be making his IPL debut and another rookie in Mark Wood. Uncapped bowler Deepak Chahar will be expected to lead the attack after having a fruitful Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he claimed 19 wickets in 9 matches, but the lack of experienced Indian or overseas bowler might come to haunt them during the business stage of the tournament.
#2 Over-reliance on spin
Tha MS Dhoni loves captaining to the spinners is a fact well known. Dhoni is a master tactician when it comes to setting fields for the slippers and has a pristine game sense to second guess as to what the batsman is thinking. It is perhaps this tenet that CSK had followed while selecting their squad for the upcoming season.
While the spinners at their disposal are proven match-winners with too many of them presenting their case to be in the first choice XI, it may seriously hamper the balance of the side especially with just two specialist overseas fast bowlers in Mark Wood and Lungisani Ngidi.
Over-reliance on spinners may come to haunt CSK, especially in away games on small grounds like the Wankhede or the Chinnaswamy.
#3 Lack of young talent in the side
CSK squad for the year 2018 is loaded with seasoned campaigners in Watson, Bravo, du Plessis in their ranks. 10 out of the 25 players in the squad are well over the age of 30, and with Watson, Harbhajan, and Bravo, all non-active in the international circuit currently, the April heat will severely test their fitness as the tournament wears on.
Moreover, the lack of young prodigy gives a sense of predictability to their squad.