My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Josh Hazlewood

Chennai Super Kings haven’t had the greatest of seasons so far. With just 3 wins from 9 games their chances of getting to the playoffs is thinning with every loss. Their loss against Delhi Capitals over the weekend was a must win game to keep their confidence going but again despite putting up a good total their bowling and fielding let that chance slip.

While Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab kept their hopes alive with a moral boosting win, they also put a lot of pressure on CSK and Rajasthan Royals. CSK not only lost the game against Delhi Capitals, they also lost their star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to injury. Losing him mid game and having to bowl Ravindra Jadeja in the final over cost them dearly. This would also mean that they would have to change their team combination once again. CSK haven’t been able to field a settled combination so far this season and Bravo’s absence is not going to be easy.

The middle order batting options isn’t something which is abundant in CSK’s arsenal. They only have Kedar Jadhav and Narayan Jagadeesan in their squad to fill that slot. The other decision they need to make is between Josh Hazlewood and Lungi Ngidi. Kedhar Jadhav had a poor IPL and was a regular for CSK in the first few games. He isn’t bowling anymore which means that he needs to play only as a batter in the XI. He really struggled with the bat this season and him not being the fastest mover on the field might weigh heavy in the decision making process. Jagadeesan played only one game for CSK and scored 30 odd, it would be unfair to not give him another chance in the XI.

The other option Dhoni & Co have is playing an extra spinner in Piyush Chawla in place of Bravo which also might be one of the discussion points. The other pickle CSK have is that with Bravo missing they need to plug their death bowling void. Bravo and Shardul Thakur did that for CSK in the last few games and with the former injured they need to decide between Hazlewood and Ngidi for that spot. Ngidi does seem the natural choice but again Hazlewood provides CSK with wickets with the new ball. It will be a tough call for the team management ahead of their all important game against Rajasthan Royals.

Making change to the playing XI is always tough but doing it when you are not particularly performing well as a team is even more difficult. CSK will know that any more slip up would mean that their chances of making it to the final four will almost be over. This is a must win the pressure is enormous on MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming.

My Playing XI:

Sam Curran, Faf Du Plessis, Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, N Jagadeesan/Piyush Chawla, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma, Lungi Ngidi

When Suresh Raina decided to leave at the start of this season everyone expected CSK’s gameplan to take a hit. They were carrying two out of form openers and a bunch of rusty middle order bats. Raina who adds a great dimension to the CSK batting order has left a huge hole which I don’t think the team management were prepared for.

For some weird reason in the last years auction CSK went after bowlers but did not invest much on the batting front. The opening combination especially is pretty dicey for CSK. Murali Vijay who was once an explosive and consistent opener for CSK is just a shadow of the batsman he once was. His confidence seems to be non existent and that showed even during his fielding in the first game against Mumbai Indians. Shane Watson who was CSK’s star in their win in 2018 hasn’t been playing competitive cricket for a while now and that has shown in his form over the last couple of seasons.

This puts enormous pressure on Ambati Rayudu and Faf Du Plessis as the starts haven’t been what they would need for a T20 game. When Rayudu missed the game against RR due to injury CSK’s batting woes came into view for everyone to see. Ruturaj Gaikwad got a chance but we cannot be hard on the youngster after just one game. CSK would need to think about Murali Vijay’s role in the team. He has been poor in the field and has struggled to get going with the bat which means they would have to take a quick call once Rayudu comes back.

The problem for the men in yellow is that they do not have too many options in the squad. This leaves pretty less room for experimentation for the team management. The lack of batting options mean that CSK need to try and promote Ruturaj Gaikwad to open the batting alongside Shane Watson. This would also mean that Rayudu and Faf can play in their respective positions. Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni need to improve fast and soon in the middle order and they need to hope that Sam Curran continues to be excellent like he has been so far for the franchise.

The other major change CSK will be looking at is replacing Lungi Ngidi. The big South African made a great comeback in the first game but hasn’t been consistent enough. Josh Hazlewood can be given a chance in the upcoming games or even Shardul Thakur can get a look in which can allow CSK to play Dwayne Bravo or Imran Tahir based on the wicket for the upcoming games. Lots of things for the Stephen Fleming and co to think about ahead of their next game. The lack of batting options is something which might come back to bite them later in the season. For now moving around a few players is all they can do hoping that will be enough to get through this season.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are one of the best teams in the history of IPL. They are the only team who have reached the play-offs in every IPL they have been part of. They have won the title 3 times and are always one of the favourites going into an IPL season. The biggest constant for the franchise has been their two legends in batting, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni. Suresh Raina at number 3 has been a regular for CSK and him pulling out leaves a huge hole in the top order.

Raina also is an IPL legend with 5368 runs in the tournament in 193 games. In the absence of the southpaw, CSK will be forced to reshuffle their batting order. While Shane Watson is a fix at the top, the opening role might go to Murali Vijay who has been struggling in this format over the past few seasons. Ruturaj Gaikwad is another option CSK might mull over considering his T20 record at the domestic level. In the absence of Raina, Ambati Rayudu is most likely to take over the number 3 spot.

The number 4 spot will most likely go to the Faf Du Plessis to spruce up the top order in the absence of Suresh Raina. This would mean that there will be space for only two more foreign players in the X1. Kedar Jadhav at 5 and MS Dhoni at 6 will complete the top 6 of CSK.

Dwayne Bravo will mostly grab the pace bowling all-rounder spot followed by Ravindra Jadeja as the lead spinner. Here is where things get exciting for CSK. For the first time they have a good group of fast bowlers especially the international group with Josh Hazlewood, Lungi Ngidi and Sam Curran. Hazlewood and Curran are coming in match fit. Both of them have been in good form for their respective sides in limited overs games. CSK though would be in dilemma as all three fast bowlers are fantastic. If the CSK camp are to be believed, Lungi Ngidi has been bowling with serious pace in the practice games. Sam Curran on the other hand gives CSK with lower order batting along with his left arm swing. Josh Hazlewood gives them with control with the new ball.

This for sure will be a hard choice as there is space for only one foreign pace bowler in the X1. Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar will also be in the mix as one of them has to play in the X1. The other selection trouble for CSK is the spin bowling department. They have Imran Tahir in the squad as well but again Piyush Chawla who was snapped up for a fortune in the auction last year will take the second spinner spot in the X1. Only one of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur will find space in the X1.

The pace bowling combination is something which CSK will have a lot to think about. To decide between 3 world class bowlers will not be easy at all considering they might be able to play only one of them at most times.

CSK have a great squad this time with the right amount of experience and talent. The biggest challenge for them this season would be to get the right combination on the field. The team management will have lots of thinking to do ahead of their clash against last years champions Mumbai Indians in the first game of the season. It will be interesting to see what Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni have in mind regarding the team combination.

My CSK XI for the first game:

Murali Vijay, Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf Du Plessis, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (WK & Capt), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Lungi Ngidi, Deepak Chahar


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