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Chennai Super Kings have become pretty much the irrepressible force of the Indian Premier League. The defending champions of the last two years have worked out a home formula and every single team has struggled to get a measure of them in their backyard at the Chepauk.
There are various reasons behind CSK's success at home, the prime one being the nature of their attack that suits the home track. The Super Kings have a number of spinners in their line-up who are extremely difficult to get away if the ball doesn't come on to the bat.
While R Ashwin leads the pack, the likes of Shadab Jakati and Suraj Randiv have adjusted perfectly to the team's needs.In addition, Suresh Raina's off-spin, too, comes in handy and skipper MS Dhoni uses all his resources almost brilliantly.
This year, CSK will be further bolstered on this front by the addition of Ravindra Jadeja. CSK spent their entire booty of $2m on the player (they, in fact, paid a lot more because it went into tie-break bidding) as they believe that Jadeja will play a big role in making it a hat-trick of IPL titles for the team.
CSK's strength derives from the quality of Indian recruits, and it will be the same this time too. Dhoni, after a disastrous last few months as Indian captain, will look to show that his leadership skills are not on the wane. Local boys S Badrinath, M Vijay and S Anirudha, too, are keen to use the tournament as a platform to reach the Indian team.
Overall, the team looks like a well-knit unit, and there's no reason why they can't go on to win the title yet again.
Indian angle: MS Dhoni (Capt.), Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, K Shri Vasudevadas, Anirudha Srikkanth, Abhinav Mukund, R Ashwin, Shadab Jakati, Sudeep Tyagi, Joginder Sharma, Yo Mahesh, Ravindra Jadeja, Suraj Randiv, Ganapathy Vignesh, Wriddhiman Saha.
Foreign Players: Mike Hussey, George Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nuwan Kulasekara, Albie Morkel, Dwayne Bravo, Scott Styris, Francis Du Plessis.
The quality of the Indian recruits. Almost all the Indian players in the first XI are internationals, which gives them a huge advantage over others. Moreover, they are a well-settled side, with the core having remained the same over the years. The players feed off each other thanks to the earlier triumphs as a group.
The pace bowling department. Doug Bollinger hasn't been at his best while Albie Morkel sometimes struggle in flat conditions. Dhoni will hope Ben Hilfenhaus, playing his first IPL, will come good and give the pace attack a stronger look. Ashwin may not be the same force this time, after his lacklustre show as Team India player.
Starwatch: Those who can make the difference
Ravindra Jadeja ($2m): The biggest buy of the season. A sharp all rounder who fits into Dhoni's scheme of things. His bowling and batting can be extremely effective in Indian conditions. Stands out with his fielding skills too.
Suresh Raina (Retained): Has been subject to criticism of late and will look at the IPL to change that. But Dhoni's faith in him spurs him on. Raina's bowling and fielding are a plus while he can be devastating with the bat.
Mike Hussey ($425,000): A professional, and loyal CSK star, he can easily play the anchor role or go on the attack when required. He has the experience, skill and the mind to stay calm in a crisis and bail the team out.
MS Dhoni (Retained): Captain cool is CSK's biggest asset, knows how to overcome difficult situations. Seems even more at home while leading CSK, with all his moves almost coming off and looking brilliant.
Content courtsey: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com