I am from Chennai and there is no doubt in which team I will be supporting in this year’s edition of IPL. Chennai Super Kings were in the finals last year and I hope that this year they can go one step further. Chennai Super kings have an interesting squad. This year they have added Andrew Flintoff to their ranks. I don’t rate Flintoff too high for his batting but he is a fantastic bowler.
The Chennai Super Kings this year have a balanced squad. Hayden will be available for the entire season which will be a big boost for the team. Stephen Fleming will be the coach and the player for the Super Kings. The bowling looks much stronger this year with the addition of Andrew Flintoff. So Makhaya Ntini, Jacob Oram, Balaji, Gony, Flintoff, Albie Morkel and Muthaih Muralitharan form the bowling for the Chennai super Kings.
The batting last year was the strong point for the team. Viydut and Parthiv formed a good opening partnership with Raina, Badrinath and Dhoni forming the middle order followed by the all rounder Albie Morkel. With Hayden available for the entire season, this year the selection is going to be a head ache for the Super Kings captain and the coach. Hayden might get into the side and they have to juggle the bowlers a little bit this season. Since the Kings have three all-rounders at their disposal, it’s going to be interesting as to who they are going to pick in the eleven. The four international players rule will make sure that there is going to be just one international batsman who will make the eleven. So that spot will be taken by Hayden.
Morkel might be one of the All-rounder’s in the squad along with Andrew Flintoff. They might juggle between Morkel and Oram for the initial part of the season till Flintoff leaves to play for England. Balaji and Gony might play in the team as the bowlers with Murali and Ntini forming the rest of the order. So my starting eleven at least for the first few games will be as follows,
Team: Hayden, Parthiv (Or Viydut), Suresh Raina, Badrinath, M S Dhoni (Captain), Andrew Flintoff, Albie Morkel, L Balaji, Gony, Murali and Ntini.
That makes it very balanced squad. They might have few changes here and there during the course of the competition as they have young talents like, Murali Vijay and also Srilankan Thilan Thushara. Jacob Oram might get into the squad once Flintoff leaves. So there is an embarrassment of riches for the Chennai super kings this year.
The biggest advantage for the team is having Dhoni as their captain as he was fantastic last year leading both the Indian team and the Chennai super kings. He had limited resources last year and did a fantastic job with the team and with two South Africans in the team he will have a great chance of making it to the final four this year too.
Good luck to the super kings and it will be a fantastic learning experience for the Indian youngsters as they will be playing in SA and will be surrounded by greats of the game. They can learn a lot by speaking to the international players and see how they prepare for a game and also learn about the right areas to bowl on wickets which have some pace and bounce for the bowlers. I was looking at the cricinfo round table about the IPL, where the experts said that the Indians will struggle in SA, which is absolute nonsense as we just won the world cup couple of years back with inexperienced players.
I guess the Indian players will just do fine there and will surely come back as better and confident players after the IPL is over. Let’s hope that this edition of IPL is as good as the previous year in terms of quality of the cricket games. I know that the atmosphere cannot be matched as the games are not in India but I am sure that the SACB will try their level best to generate interest among the general public in SA.