IPL 2023 CSK preview: After horrid season, Chennai Super Kings look for revival helped by 'Whistle Podu Army'

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CSK IPL 2023 Preview: With return of the home-and-away format in the Indian Premier League, no team would be more pleased to have home fixtures than Chennai Super Kings. Despite the noise that Wankhede Stadium or M Chinnaswamy Stadium can generate, it cannot match up to the frenzy of Chepauk.

And they would desperately need all the fan support from ‘Whistle Podu Army’ especially after how the 2022 season transpired. The second-most successful franchise in IPL history, the ones who clinched the title in the 2021 season, dropped to ninth a year later. They only finished second from the bottom due to a better net run rate than Mumbai Indians.

IPL 2023 | Everything you need to know about Chennai Super Kings

The loud Chennai crowd will get a much-awaited taste of CSK on 3 April against Lucknow Super Giants. But their campaign gets underway on 31 March against reigning IPL champions Gujarat Titans which is where MS Dhoni & Co’s carefully assembled squad will be put to their first test.

Ahead of the IPL auction, Dwayne Bravo and Robin Uthappa announced their retirements. CSK, meanwhile, released Chris Jordan, Adam Milne, KM Asif, N Jagadeesan, C Hari Nishanth, and Bhagath Verma.

At the auction, they signed Ben Stokes, Kyle Jamieson, Nishant Sindh, Ajinkya Rahane, and Shaik Rasheed.

Even before the season gets underway, CSK have been struck by injuries. Jamieson has been ruled out of the tournament with a stress fracture and has been replaced by Sisanda Magala. Mukesh Choudhary, who impressed in 2022, is unlikely to start the season.

Sri Lanka’s Matheesha Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana will miss the first three matches for their tour of New Zealand. Stokes, their big money signing, is unlikely to bowl in the early stages. But the England star’s batting and finishing abilities could be lethal enough to take CSK to wins.

For Chennai, the strength lies in the batting depth. They are expected to open with Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad with Stokes, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube and skipper Dhoni all finding space in the middle to lower order.

The challenge is in the bowling department. The seam options are led by Deepak Chahar and his return could be pivotal to CSK’s chances this season. With Jadeja, Moeen, Mitchell Santner and Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dhoni has quite a few bowling options but it is tough to call how consistent they can be.

Watch: MS Dhoni gets boisterous reception by CSK fans during practice session

Beyond the batting and bowling, another aspect that would occupy CSK think tank and even MS Dhoni’s mind is finding a suitable replacement for himself going forward. Jadeja was given the nod last year but it proved to be a task too big. For a team that has been led by one man for this long, finding an ideal candidate is proving to be an ordeal. But it is an ordeal that they need solutions for.

CSK Best Possible XI

Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ben Stokes, Ambati Rayudu, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Maheesh Theekshana, Mukesh Choudhary

CSK Squad

MS Dhoni (c), Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Chowdhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Simarjeet Singh, Deepak Chahar, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana, Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, Shaik Rasheed, Nishant Sindhu, Sisanda Magala, Ajay Mandal, Bhagath Varma.

CSK Schedule

Match 1: March 31, 2023 – Gujarat Titans vs Chennai Super Kings, Ahmedabad (7:30PM IST)

Match 2: April 3, 2023 – Chennai Super Kings vs Lucknow Super Giants, Chennai (7:30PM IST)

Match 3: April 8, 2023 – Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai (7:30PM IST)

Match 4: April 12, 2023 – Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Chennai (7:30PM IST)

Match 5: April 17, 2023: – RCB vs Chennai Super Kings, Bengaluru (7:30PM IST)

Match 6: April 21, 2023: – Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai (7:30PM IST)

Match 7: April 23, 2023: – Kolkata Knight RIders vs Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata (7:30PM IST)

Match 8: April 27, 2023 – Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings, Jaipur (7:30PM IST)

Match 9: April 30, 2023 – Chennai Super Kings vs Punjab Kings, Chennai (3:30PM IST)

Match 10: May 4, 2023 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Chennai Super Kings, Lucknow (3:30PM IST)

Match 11: May 6, 2023 – Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, Chennai (3:30PM IST)

Match 12: May 10, 2023: – Chennai Super Kings vs Delhi Capitals, Chennai (7:30PM IST)

Match 13: May 14, 2023: – Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai (7:30PM IST)

Match 14: May 20, 2023: – Delhi Capitals vs Chennai Super Kings, Delhi (3:30PM IST)

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