CSK was suspended owing to the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, which shook the league to its core and allegedly involved not just players but also some top officials of the franchise.
The player pool available for CSK for retention/RTM will be the players’ who played for them in IPL 2015 and who were part of RPS and Gujarat Lions squads in IPL 2017.
Here are the players that Chennai Super Kings should absolutely retain (3 retention + 2 RTM card) for the 2018 season:
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
It would be impossible to imagine CSK without ‘Thala’ Dhoni. Dhoni has captained CSK right from the first edition of the IPL till 2015 when the team was suspended and has a terrific record in the tournament. Under the leadership of Dhoni, CSK won the 2010 and 2011 editions of the tournament and finished as runners-up in the 2008, 2012, 2013 and the 2015 editions. In all the editions, Captain Cool has managed to take the team to the playoff stage. Dhoni has also captained the side to victory in the 2010 and the 2014 editions of the Champions League.
Though not the same player that he was on the field five years ago, Dhoni still packs a punch and is the heartthrob of Chennai.
There is absolutely no doubt that CSK will retain their skipper, who has been their recipe for success in the tournament.
2. Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina has been one of CSK’s best batsmen in the IPL. The left-hander has a few unforgettable innings to his name in the yellow jersey and is undoubtedly one of the best batsmen of the tournament. Raina represented Chennai in all eight seasons of the IPL before the team got suspended. He also holds a unique record of playing the most number of IPL matches.
Raina is the highest run scorer in IPL history. He has scored 4,540 runs in 161 matches at an average of 34.13 and a strike rate of 139.09. He has a century and as many as 31 half-centuries to his name in the IPL and his highest score in the tournament is an unbeaten 100.
The Raina we know today is very different from the Raina we knew when he was in yellow. His form and future are being majorly criticised, but we hope that the man can find his form upon rejoining his favourite team.
3. Dwayne Bravo
The ‘Champion’ from the Caribbean is one of the best entertainers of the game. He adds a much-needed flavour to the IPL and has been a vital part of the CSK squad ever since he moved to the side in 2011. The all-rounder has picked up wickets at crucial times for the Super Kings and has also played some handy knocks for the men in yellow.
Bravo is the 5th highest wicket-taker in IPL history. He has picked up 122 wickets in 106 matches. He has also scored 1,238 runs at an average of 22.92 and a strike rate of 125.94.
Bravo will surely be welcomed back by the team in yellow.
4. Brendon McCullum
The hard-hitting Kiwi batsman is another player CSK should retain. The right-hander has given excellent starts for all the teams he represents, at the top of the order. In the 2014 and 2015 editions of the IPL where he represented CSK, McCullum has played many match-winning innings with his partner Dwayne Smith. He played for the Gujarat Lions in the 2016 and 2017 editions when CSK was out suspended. McCullum played a similar role while with the Lions, scoring plenty of runs and getting his team to good starts.
He is very experienced and can play a vital role in the dressing room as well.
McCullum should be retained by CSK.
5. Ravichandran Ashwin
The off-spinner has been a part of CSK right from the first edition till the team was handed a suspension in 2016. He made his name in the IPL playing for the Super Kings, where he caught the selectors’ attention and was picked for the national side. The rest, as they say, is history.
Being a local boy, Ashwin is sure to ‘whistle-podu’ for the Super Kings next year.