Chennai Super Kings are one of the most successful franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL). They are among the few sides in the event that have a more or less settled unit. With a number of match-winners in their kitty, they remain a major threat for opponents this season as well. Like every year, Chennai will be led by Team India skipper MS Dhoni. Stephen Fleming is their head coach, their bowling coach is Andy Bichel while Steve Rixon is their fielding coach. They have appointed Gregory King as physical trainer and Tommy Simsek as physio. The team is owned by Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited.
As mentioned above, CSK have had an extremely successful run in the tournament. They won the IPL twice, in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, they beat Mumbai Indians by 22 runs courtesy Suresh Raina's half-century. In 2011, they faced Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final. Murali Vijay's splendid 95 took them to 205 batting first, and Chennai won easily as Bangalore managed only 147. Chennai finished runners-up to Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural edition in 2008. They made the finals in 2012 and 2013 as well, but ended up on the losing side. In 2012, KKR beat them by five wickets while in 2013, Mumbai got the better of them by 23 runs. CSK were semi-finalists in 2009 and 2014.
Key players to watch out for
Suresh Raina: The just-married Raina is the most successful batsman in the IPL, and also one of the most dangerous. He has come in and changed the course of a number of matches with his big hitting. Raina has rarely had a poor season in the IPL, and has contributed with the ball and in the field as well.
Brendon McCullum: The New Zealand skipper's big-hitting ability is no secret, but he took it to a completely different level in the World Cup, adopting a T20 method for the 50 overs version. And, but for the final, he was extremely successful. Following his marvellous success, expectations from McCullum have been heightened. It remains to be seen how the Kiwi responds to the new challenge.
Dwayne Bravo: West Indies may not have needed his services for the World Cup, but the all-rounder is an inseparable part of the Chennai outfit. He is always in the eleven when fit for he can smash the ball a long way in the last few overs, and is highly effective with the ball owing to his variations. In the field as well, Bravo is among the sharpest people around.
Ravichandran Ashwin: The offie first made his name in the IPL, which subsequently resulted in the Indian cap. Ashwin is capable of a dual role as Chennai's main spinner. He can keep the runs down, and pick up wickets as well at crucial junctures. It is his line and length that is most impressive. Ashwin is also a handy bat down the order.
Mohit Sharma: He is a perfect choice in the T20 format as he has great variations in the bowling department. His slower ball is particularly well disguised, and he is also quick when needed. Sharma gave a great account of himself in the bowling department, and will be keen to continue the good work.
--By A Cricket Analyst