Chennai Super Kings (CSK), led by the legendary captain MS Dhoni will contest in the 16th edition of Tata IPL. The team from Chennai has won the IPL title 4 times, just 1 shy behind their arch-rivals Mumbai Indians. They will be on the quest to become the joint most successful team in the tournament’s history, and one gets a feeling they have the right balance in the squad to clinch yet another IPL. As IPL 2023 might very well be the farewell season for their skipper Dhoni, CSK and fans would be hoping for a fairytale finish for arguably one of the greatest finishers ever.
Like MI, CSK also doesn’t like to tinker with the team much, which could also be the case this season, despite finishing a lowly 9th in the IPL 2022. They will dearly miss the services of veterans Robin Uthappa and Dwayne Bravo, who have retired from the IPL but have able replacements for their respective roles. CSK acquired the services of England Test skipper Ben Stokes at the auctions for a whopping 16.25 crores and brought experienced Ajinkya Rahane. The duo might fit into CSK’s scheme of things this season.
Apart from that, there are a few injury concerns with the fact that Kiwi pacer Kyle Jamieson might be ruled out of the IPL 2023 due to a back injury. His replacement is not yet named by the franchise.
Chennai Super Kings Squad: MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Deepak Chahar, Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Simarjeet Singh, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Kyle Jamieson, Ajay Mandal, Bhagath Varma
Knowing CSK and Dhoni’s captaincy over the years, it is not rocket science that the team doesn’t look to make many changes to the squad and will pack their XI with all-rounders. With enough being said, let us predict the starting XI for CSK when they take the field on the opening night of IPL 2023 against the defending champions Gujarat Lions at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad, on March 31.
Predicted starting XI for CSK in IPL 2023
Openers: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane
Ruturaj Gaikwad is being looked at as the future of the CSK franchise, and rightly so. The young batter from Maharashtra has been CSK’s best-performing batsman for the yellow team in the last 2 seasons, and they will be heavily reliant on Ruturaj once again to give them blazing starts with the bat. The 26-year-old has accumulated 1207 runs at an average of over 37 in his IPL career and will look to add more to his tally in the coming season.
Ajinkya Rahane is a highly experienced campaigner and should start ahead of the New Zealander Devon Conway in the playing XI to have a better team combination. The veteran of 158 IPL matches would be looked at by CSK to play a key role in the coming season.
Middle-order: Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Shivam Dube, MS Dhoni
CSK have arguably one of the best batting fire-powers among all teams in the middle-order, and when it all clicks, they would be a different & dangerous side altogether. Moeen Ali played a significant role in the last seasons for CSK scoring 600 runs and picking 14 wickets in 25 games. He will be joined by his countrymen and mercurial all-rounder Ben Stokes who returns to the IPL fold after missing last season.
MS Dhoni is the biggest name in CSK despite being in the latter stage of his career and closing in on 5000 IPL runs at a strike rate of less than 140. The other integral part of Chennai’s middle order is Shivam Dube, and the all-rounder scored 289 runs at a strike rate of 156 from 11 games last season.
All-rounders: Ravindra Jadeja, Dwaine Pretorius
Former CSK skipper Ravindra Jadeja will be the lone Indian spinner for the Super Kings, and his overs could prove vital on the turning tracks of Chepauk. We all know his improved abilities with the bat at the end overs, which works in favour of CSK. Along with him, the South African Dwaine Pretorius may very well be picked to bolster the pace department. His experience in playing T20 leagues and his skillset as a pacer cannot be overlooked.
Bowlers: Deepak Chahar, Maheesh Theekshana, and Mukesh Choudhary
Deepak Chahar has been CSK’s best bowler in the IPL for some time now, and it is good news that the pacer is fit for the IPL. Chahar provides the wicket-taking option for the team in the powerplays and walks into the team. Another important part of the CSK team, especially at home, is mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana who keeps things tight while at the same time picking early wickets for the team. He was impressive for Super Kings last season, picking 12 wickets in 9 games. The last slot will be taken by the left-arm pacer Mukesh Choudhary who was a shining light for the team last season.
CSK probable playing XI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ajinkya Rahane, Moeen Ali, Ben Stokes, Shivam Dube, MS Dhoni (Capt and WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Dwaine Pretorius, Deepak Chahar, Maheesh Theekshana, Mukesh Choudhary