The Indian Premier League 2014 started and ended in a very bad fashion for Chennai Super Kings, arguably the most consistent franchise in the tournament’s history. In their first game against Kings XI Punjab they scored a double century as a team only to lose to the belligerence of Miller and Maxwell. In the last game too, it was the same opponent that stopped their progress in the tournament. However, they won plenty in between and ensured that they would be there in the CLT20 for yet another year:
MS Dhoni: The skipper struck 371 runs from 16 games with a stupendous average of 74.20, the best in his team, and a half century to his credit. He mostly batted down the order for Chennai giving some experience and dependability to a new batting order. He will lead the side in 2015 as well.
Ravichandran Ashwin: He picked up 16 wickets from 16 games but was a tad expensive at 7.30 runs an over. He should be there in the team in 2015 as well considering his capability to contribute with the bat as well and his standing in Indian cricket as the best spinner going around.
Samuel Badree: Badree did not exactly have the best of tournament this time around with just 2 wickets from 4 appearances. He was economical however, going for 6.92 runs per over. He could be there in the team in 2015 as well.
Faf du Plessis: He had a mixed tournament of sorts with 15 games from which he collected 303 runs and this included 2 half centuries. However, he adds plenty of value as a leader of Proteas’s T20 team and his fielding is top drawer. So, he should be in the team for 2015 as well.
John Hastings: He got just one game where he went for 29 runs in 3 overs and picked up a wicket. However, considering his capability with the bat it would be a surprise if Super Kings judged him just by this one match and allowed him to leave in 2015.
Ben Hilfenhaus: The Aussie quick played 8 games and picked up 8 scalps but was highly expensive with 8.79 runs per over – not the sort of performance that the team management may have been hoping for from him. There is an outside chance that if Super Kings can find a proper replacement they may not go for him in 2015.
David Hussey: He endured a horrid start to the tournament as the replacement for Dwayne Bravo but then ended the tournament with 116 runs from 5 games at an average of 58. He also scored a half century. Perhaps with his experience in this form of the game and his ability to bowl some quickish off-spin as and when needed it will be surprising to not see him in the lineup in 2015.
Ravindra Jadeja: He was the second highest wicket taker for Chennai Super Kings with 19 scalps from 16 games with an expensive economic rate of 8.15. He also scored 146 runs in the limited opportunities that he got with a handy strike rate of 132.72. He should be there in 2015 as well.
Brendon McCullum: The opener from Kiwiland built up a magnificent opening partnership with Dwayne Smith that laid the basis of many of the team’s wins and ultimately helped it progress to the play-offs. He played 14 matches and scored 405 runs with 3 half centuries to his credit. McCullum should be a certainty in 2015 as well.
Mithun Manhas: This aged batsman from Delhi has a wealth of experience and a mountain of runs in Indian domestic cricket. However, he was unable to replicate that performance in this year’s IPL with only 35 runs from 12 appearances. May be CSK would go for Subramanyam Badrinath in his place in 2015.
Pawan Negi: The left arm spinner played a couple of games this year but was unable to leave much of an impact. He failed to pick up any wickets and conceded 10.71 runs in every over he bowled. It would be a surprise to see him in Chennai Super Kings in 2015.
Ashish Nehra: The experienced seamer was restricted to only 4 games owing to injuries and the superb form of Mohit Sharma. Still he got 8 wickets but was a bit too expensive at 9.46 runs per over. However, considering his death bowling skills and wicket-taking ability he should be there in 2015 as well.
Ishwar Pandey: Young Pandey had an IPL to forget. He played 13 games but picked up only 6 wickets and was also expensive, giving away 7.57 runs in every over. However, he is a promising cricketer with a chance of being retained in 2015 as well.
Suresh Raina: The lynchpin of Chennai’s batting churned out 523 runs from 16 games with 5 half centuries to his credit and a fantastic average of 40.23. His performance was instrumental in his team winning a number of games and there is a chance that one day he may be asked to lead the franchise.
Vijay Shankar: The young all rounder played just one game where he did not get a chance with the bat and conceded 19 runs in the solitary over he bowled. It is hard to judge a cricketer’s ability from such a limited scope. However, there is a good chance that he may be allowed to seek opportunities at other franchises in 2015.
Mohit Sharma: He was easily the best bowler for Super Kings in this year’s IPL. The Haryana seamer picked up 23 wickets from 16 games with a 4 wicket haul to his credit. However, he was a tad too expensive with an economy rate of 8.39 – should be one of the certainties come 2015.
Dwayne Smith: The Caribbean allrounder was the highest run getter for his team with 566 runs from 16 games and 5 half centuries to his credit. He, with Raina, Dhoni and McCullum were the engines on which the strong CSK batting sustained itself. It would be a shame if he was not retained in 2015.
This year Dhoni was unable to utilize the talents of Baba Aparajith, Matt Henry, and Ronit More, who happen to be very promising cricketers. They need to give more opportunities to such talent and play a positive role in their development. They would also be praying that Bravo, who was sorely missed this year, comes back fit in 2015 and plays the all-round role that he is known to excel in.