All-time CSK Playing XI: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina blind picks, contention for opening slots

With CSK always sticking to their core group in every edition of the league, some players walk in the all-time playing XI without any debate. CSK have had only 74 players play for them across 12 seasons. However, there was some brain-storming while picking up players for some spots, like there was strong contention for the first opening batsman between Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey

Choosing fast bowlers was also a bit hectic task as there were plenty of options to pick from like Lakshmipathy Balaji, Mohit Sharma, Deepak Chahar, and Ashish Nehra.

Also, the team we have selected gives it batting depth till No. 10.

So here is our best all-time playing XI for CSK. Let’s see if you could agree with us on this or not.

Captain: MS Dhoni

Chennai Super Kings have produced consistent performance in every edition of the league. They are the only team to have reached the playoffs in every edition of the league they have played in. Moreover, they have reached the final for a record 8 times and have lifted the trophy thrice. They also have the best win percentage among all teams in the IPL (61.28). And the man under whom the franchise has achieved all this success is MS Dhoni. He has led the team since the inception of the tournament and it would not be wrong to say that the former India skipper is the spine of the franchise.

Openers

Matthew Hayden (34 matches, 2008-2010 | Runs 1117, Ave 34.90, SR 135.55)
Murali Vijay (86 matches, 2009-2013, 2018-19 | Runs 2173, Ave 26.50, SR 124.67)

We would pick the left-hand and right-combination of Hayden and Murali for opening the batting. Murali Vijay has played a crucial role in CSK’s first two title victories. His 95 runs in 2011 final against RCB proves that he is bankable. We are picking Hayden over Michael Hussey because the former is a destructive player. Hayden demolished bowlers in the 2nd edition of the league where he won the Orange Cap. His pull shots, where he walks down the pitch, is a nightmare for every bowler. He is capable of thrashing pacers and spinners both equally.

One Down

Suresh Raina (188 matches, 2008-2015, 2018-19 | Runs 5369, Ave 33.98, SR 139.38 | Wkts 36, Ave 30.36, ER 7.08)

Suresh Raina walks into the side as an automatic pick due to his consistent performance in every edition of the league. CSK have stuck to their core group of players and it has worked wonderfully for them. Raina is an integral part of that core group. He is the highest run-scorer for CSK and is placed second among all-time leading run-scorers in the IPL. In every edition, Raina has scored at least 300 runs, a feat which is not achieved by any other player. He is a destructive batsman, a phenomenal fielder and also comes in handy with his spin bowling skills.

Middle-order
S Badrinath (114 matches, 2008-2013 | Runs 1667, Ave 28.25, SR 114.57)

In the middle-order, we need someone who could steady the ship after a top-order collapse and could serve that purpose better than S Badrinath– ‘Mr Dependable’ for CSK. Badrinath is capable of absorbing pressure and he has proved that plenty of times. In the 2010 IPL, when Hayden was struggling with poor form, and MS Dhoni missing in action in some matches due to injury, Badrinath shouldered the burden in the middle order to help CSK reach the semi-final. In the knockout match,

MS Dhoni (184 matches, 2008-2015, 2018-19 | Runs 4307, Ave 42.22, SR 140.15)

It would not be wrong to say that MS Dhoni in CSK is as important as water for the human body. MS Dhoni is a blind pick for almost every player in their all-time playing XI in the limited-overs format. Even if the former Indian skipper fails to contribute with the bat, his cricketing sense on the field compensates for that. His monk-like demeanor, he stands stall in extreme pressure situations and also capable of finishing the matches. Moreover, he is also the 2nd highest run-scorer for CSK.

All-rounders

Dwayne Bravo (103 matches, 2011-2015, 2018-19 | Runs 1203, Ave 28.64, SR 136.24 | Wkts 118, Ave 23.28, ER 8.31)

Bravo has played a crucial role for CSK with his all-round display, ever since he broke into the team in 2011. With a strong batting line-up, Bravo has not been able to contribute much through bat the world is quite familiar with his power-hitting.

He is among the top ten wicket-takers (147) in IPL and arguably the best death bowlers the league has ever witnessed.

Ravindra Jadeja (116 matches, 2012-2015, 2018-19 | Runs 1021, Ave 21.72, SR 130.22 | Wkts 90, Ave 26.50, ER 7.70)

Consider that Jadeja is going through a rough phase in his career with both bat and ball but still he is capable of winning matches for his team through his exceptional fielding. He could hold one end when the middle-order batsman is on the charge and is capable of scoring runs with tail-enders.

Albie Morkel (92 matches, 2008-2013 | Runs 909, Ave 23.30, SR 142.25, Wkts 91, Ave 25.94, ER 7.98)

Albie Morkel can bat anywhere is the order according to the need. He has pulled CSK out of tricky situations after walking out to bat at No. 4. His 62 off mere 34 against Rajasthan Royals in 2010 is one such example when he turned into a saviour for the team. Not just this, the South African is also capable of hitting long sixes. He still holds the record for hitting the longest six in IPL which was 125m against RCB in 2012 when he scored 28 runs off just 7 deliveries.

Frontline-spinner: R Ashwin, (121 matches, 2009-2015 | Wkts 120, Ave 23.70, ER 6.66)

R Ashwin is undoubtedly among the best off-spinners in the world. He could alter his pace and flight to prove an economic bowler in the Powerplay. If there is little bit of purchase for the spinners in the wicket, then Dhoni could take away any game from the opposition with Ashwin and Jadeja in the side.

Fast bowlers

Doug Bollinger (41 matches, 2010-2012 | Wkts 55, Ave 19.78, ER 7.30)

Bollinger does not give away easy runs. In 2010, Bollinger helped CSK seal the final berth for the second time. CSK has managed just 142 runs in 20 overs but Bollinger choked the Deccan Charges and helped his side defend a low total with his 4 for 13.

Deepak Chahar ( 29 matches, 2018-2019 | Wkts 32, Ave 23.75, ER 7.40)

Deepak Chahar is a new addition to the CSK team. He could serve both as a powerplay specialist due to his new-ball swing but is equally effective in the death overs. Also, do not forget, he holds the record for best bowling figures in T20 International with his 6 for 7 against Bangladesh.

Here is CSK’s all-time XI

CSK’s all-time XI: Matthew Hayden, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, S Badrinath, MS Dhoni (c/wk), Dwayne Bravo, Albie Morkel, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Deepak Chahar, Doug Bollinger.

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