IPL, Opinion

The end of an era and the beginning of a new one

CSK: the timeless dynasty that has ruthlessly dominated the IPL with their relentlessly consistent performances, the team solely made of over 35s that have conquered and mastered a “young man’s game”, the team I have devotedly supported through thick and thin for 5 years, has finally fallen.

While the season is not statistically over, psychologically, CSK’s chances of going into the top 4 is minimal let alone winning the entire tournament. The abysmal batting performance against our southern rivals epitomizes this: the CSK top order batsmen trudged along at a measly rate of just over a run a ball.

While N Jagadeeshan showed subtle glimpses of his potential class, he too could not ease the accumulating burden of the rapidly accelerating run rate and the middle order collapsed meekly under the pressure, in contrast to the CSK middle order of old which thrived and flourished in the harsh and brutal environment of pressure.

I thought that I would never see the day that I would say this but RCB out played CSK tactically, psychologically and technically and that too with surprisingly clinical efficiency, something you would normally associate to the vintage CSK but then again, this is 2020!

While I have dismissed CSK’s chances of coming into the top 4 as “minimal”, I would be deeply disappointed if they went out without a fight and who knows, maybe they could go on to achieve the impossible…

Personally, I think that CSK have to inject some fearlessness and youthful exuberance into their playing XI; using unscarred young talent who are eager to perform from the onset and display their talents to the world will provide some much needed energy and buzz to the CSK outfit and also, what is there to lose? The situation is looking dire as it is so we may as well have an eye for the future and begin to give extended chances to some young players.

Watson’s arduous 14 of 18 comes to an end

Luckily, the squad possess 3 young guns who are raring to go in N Jagadeeshan, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sai Kishore. All 3 of these players have the potential to provide the future domestic core of the team and giving them opportunities to don the CSK yellows more regularly this season while accelerating their development into some of the top Indian players in the IPL.

However, playing all 3 of them is looking increasingly unlikely but giving them all a fair run will only benefit CSK in the future and in the present.

One player that has shined amongst all this hopeless misery is the England all rounder Sam Curran: he has impressed all with his uncanny knack of taking game turning wickets out of absolutely nowhere complemented with his generally tidy economy rate. Curran has also showcased his remarkable ball hitting ability as his spectacular cameos are a feast for the eye.

In short, Sam Curran is the very definition of a match winner and he is a priceless gem going forward for CSK but I feel that his batting capabilities are going slightly under utilised: Curran could be used as a floater depending on the run rate as so far, CSK’s lack of intent has been utterly unacceptable and promoting Curran on a regular basis according to the situation could apply some previously missed momentum into the death overs due to the slow strike rates of the majority of the top order batsmen.

A more left field option would be to open with Curran and Watson: Curran’s gung ho attitude from ball one would allow Watson to get settled at the crease before he starts to flaunt his array of attacking strokes and this would also allow for CSK to possess the in vogue right hand-left hand combo at the top of the order. However, you could argue that Curran’s wicket is to valuable to be used as Sunil Narine type pinch hitter and that losing him early would be a massive loss in the middle and slog overs: this is a dilemma that the CSK have to debate and consider wisely.

An article about CSK would never be complete without mentioning the ever-great Mahendra Singh Dhoni and here are my thoughts on him: it is unfair to expect MSD to drag the side over the line time and time again as he is understandably a declining force batting wise. However, his value in the side transcends his batting and wicket keeping (which is actually looking pretty good) and I would implore that Dhoni remains at the helm for a few more years to help mould the upcoming team so please be understanding if Dhoni isn’t the same as he was before but don’t be surprised if he wins a couple of games single handedly just like the MSD of yesteryear.

As it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will be IPL champions again (fingers crossed that I am proven wrong) us fans have good reason to fantasise about the future of the great Chennai Super Kings. I think that it is universally known that next year’s auction will be pivotal for the future of the Super Kings as we require a massive squad overhaul. Tough decisions will have to be made about the likes of Bravo and Watson, 2 players who the franchise will be eternally grateful for their exemplary services, but the CSK management can’t allow emotion to overpower logic and cold, hard fact.

Hopefully Dhoni and Fleming realise that we need young players with equally reckless and breathtaking talent and that it is their duty to mould them into the future of the franchise and ensure that a new era of CSK domination is born…

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