New Delhi: With the core of their original squad intact, two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will be eager to re-establish their dominance after returning to the lucrative Twenty20 tournament following a two-year ban.
CSK have a formidable track record in the IPL and have notched up the most number of appearances in the final. Apart from winning the title twice, they have finished runners-up on four occasions.
The southern outfit are clearly out to regain that status. To that end, they have built up a formidable batting line-up.
They have regained the services of the indomitable Mahendra Singh Dhoni as captain and have also retained key players Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and star West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo using the Right To Match (RTM) option.
They have also roped in the services of seasoned campaigners like spinners Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir along with Australian all-rounder Shane Watson.
CSK have also brought in experienced opener Murali Vijay, India team youngsters Kedar Jadhav and opener Murali Vijay along with South Africa captain Faf Du Plessis and England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Butler.
The bowling department will spearheaded by England pacer Mark Wood and South Africa fast bowler Lungisani Ngidi.
Indian youngsters Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, K.M Asif and Monu Singh are the other members of their pace battery.
Harbhajan and Tahir are the key members of their spin attack while leg-spinner Karn Sharma may also play a crucial role.
With a host of experienced stars in their ranks, CSK are formidable opponents for any team in the IPL and are one of the strong contenders for a place in the place-offs, if not the title.
One of their weaknesses is that 11 of the 25 players in their squad are above 30 years of age. However, that should not prove be too big a problem in the shortest format of the so-called gentleman's game.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Faf Du Plessis, Mark Wood, Sam Billings, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Lungisani Ngidi, K.M. Asif, N. Jagadeesan, Kanishk Seth, Monu Singh, Dhruv Shorey, Kshitiz Sharma, Chaitanya Bishnoi.