IPL 2020 Auction: Three keys areas Chennai Super Kings and MS Dhoni should strengthen
Three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings will be looking to make the right signings in the upcoming player auctions as they plot their way to bring the IPL trophy back to Chennai.
Mumbai Indians might have the most number of Indian Premier League (IPL) titles to their name but there is no denying that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been the most consistent team in India's premier T20 tournament. The team from Chennai, led by their adopted son Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have three IPL and two Champions League titles to their name, and will be looking to forge another strong team in the upcoming player auctions in Kolkata.
CSK have had a busy pre-season where they released five players from the squad. They let go of English wicket-keeper/batsman Sam Billings along with pacers David Willey and Scott Kuggeleijn. MS Dhoni's trusted medium-pacer Mohit Sharma and the Indian duo of Chaitanya Bishnoi and Dhruv Shorey also parted the teams which will allow the former champions to fill five slots in the auctions using a purse worth ₹14.60 crores.
Here are three key areas the Chennai franchise should strengthen in the upcoming player auctions
1) Big-hitting foreign batsmen
The Chennai Super Kings have experienced Indian players such as MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav in the middle to anchor the innings. What they lack is someone who can make a difference in the final overs. The move to not retain Sam Billings shows that the Chennai franchise have plans to bid for a big-hitter. Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis -- both players who cannot do the slog hitting required for the modern game -- are the only overseas batsmen in CSK and adding the likes of Eoin Morgan, Chris Lynn or Glenn Maxwell in the middle-order can make a world of difference. Lynn's versatility should see him as the top pick for the team in yellow but with a base price of 2 crores it could well mean shelling out a lot of money for the star.
Dhoni has the ability to bring out the best from his players so don't be surprised if Chennai goes the cheaper route of chasing Aaron Finch. The Australian ODI captain has had a stellar 2019, including an ICC World Cup campaign where he scored 507 runs with an average of 50.70. Finch also enjoyed a good season in the English T20 Blast which means the Aussie will be in form coming into the tournament. At a base price of one crore, the former Kings XI star will be a great addition to the CSK squad. Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis, who have impressed in the on-going India tour for the West Indies, could be other value buys available for Chennai in the auctions.
2) Overseas all-rounder
CSK have one of the finest T20 all-rounders in Dwayne Bravo but the West Indies star is edging towards the end of the career. This means the think tanks in the Chennai team might be contemplating signing a foreign all-rounder who can fill the role of Bravo in the coming years. Coach Stephen Fleming will be certainly aware of fellow countryman James Neesham's ability with the ball and the bat. The Kiwi is available for a base price of 50 lakhs and could be a steal for teams looking to strengthen that department. Other options are Sam Curran and Chris Morris -- both bowlers with a proven track record of being effective with the bat.
Will adding Jimmy Neesham make sense for the Chennai Super Kings? (Photo - Getty Images)
CSK needn't be desperate for an all-rounder though. They have Dhoni, Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav who can perform multiple roles in the team but T20 format tends to favour teams with a lot of versatile players. Deepak Hooda or the experienced Jalaj Saxena are potential Indian all-rounders who can fill up the role if CSK do not want to take the foreign route at the auctions.
3) Adding fire to pace attack
In Lungisani Ngidi and Deepak Chahar Chennai have a pace attack that suits all the needs of a T20 match. But with Ngidi set to miss a portion of the IPL with national team duties it might be wised for the three-time champions to add strength to their fast-bowling unit. Past seasons have shown how Dhoni loves to have fast bowlers who have a bundle of tricks in their pockets. The experienced Jaydev Unadkat fits the bill even though he has not impressed in the domestic circuit recently. A better option for Chennai would be to go after West Indies star Sheldon Cottrell who will also be a like-for-like replacement for David Willey.
The improvements in the department will largely depend on what the coaching unit of CSK and Dhoni think would be ideal for IPL. Sometimes clever bowlers like Marcus Stoinis, who can also bat, work better in Indian conditions that doesn't offer much for genuinely fast bowlers.
(All photos - Getty Images)