ALL TIME CSK XI
“No one better than MS Dhoni at No 5, the leader of the ship and the inspiration behind what CSK is today,” said former India batsman Hemang Badani as he picked his all time CSK XI.
Dhoni led CSK from the inaugural Indian Premier League season onwards and took the Lions to two titles, runners-up position on four occasions and to the Playoffs in all eight. Not to forget the two Champions League T20 crowns.
One of the game’s greatest finishers, Captain Cool turned several key contests in the IPL on their heads with his calculated assaults that left fans swooning and oppositions shocked.
“(Dwayne) Bravo... I don’t think anyone can pick an all time CSK side without him,” added Badani, who was a part of the winning CSK squad in 2010.
1 Matthew Hayden
2 Brendon McCullum
3 Suresh Raina
4 Faf du Plessis
5 MS Dhoni (captain, wicket-keeper)
6 Subramaniam Badrinath
7 Dwayne Bravo
8 Ravichandran Ashwin
9 Ravindra Jadeja
10 Mohit Sharma
11 Ashish Nehra
“Hayden – For the imposing personality that he was at the wicket, could take control of the innings quickly.
“McCullum – It was between McCullum and Michael Hussey. I went with McCullum for two reasons: his energy on the field and that he’s a right-hander, for a left-right opening combination.
“Raina – The best No 3 batsman in IPL history, an amazing striker of the ball, a good fielder and can also bowl a bit.
“Du Plessis – Manoeuvres the innings well, takes the game along, and a right-left combination with Raina.
“Dhoni – No one better than MS at No 5, the leader of the ship and the inspiration behind what CSK is today.
“Badrinath – Someone who has done extremely well in this format... to start with I thought he wasn’t cut out for T20 but I just loved the way he adapted himself and the way he contributed for CSK.
“Bravo – His astonishing versatility, his slower balls, his fielding, his striking... I don’t think anyone can pick an all time CSK side without him.
“Ashwin – It was a tough call between Ashwin and (Muttiah) Muralitharan. Four foreign players restriction aside, I still go with Ashwin for I think he’s a better bet in this format and has done extremely well, especially when playing at home.
“Jadeja – A perfect fit: can really strike the ball, someone who can bowl those tidy left-arm spinners and an amazing fielder.
“Sharma – I pick Mohit for his slower ones, for his clever change of pace. An underrated bowler, he, however, always did the trick, always got the wickets for CSK. He read the pitches well in Chennai and bowled accordingly. He had a great leader in Dhoni to guide him but he was also someone who could execute it on a regular basis.
“Nehra – India’s finest fast-medium bowler in this format, ran in hard, got you wickets, didn’t get scared of being hit, bowled according to the situation.”