We are very much on the road to IPL 12 after the recent announcement that the IPL will indeed take place in India, starting on the 23rd of March with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on 2017 Champions Sunrisers Hyderabad to get proceedings underway.
The match will take place at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai and the atmosphere is sure to reach a fever pitch at the venue, given the debacle of last season, when CSK only played one game in Chennai.
Success and CSK have been synonymous with each other in the IPL. The side have made the playoffs in every single edition so far, have finished runners-up 4 times and have won the IPL title a record 3 times (tied with Mumbai Indians).
Of course, this in large part has to do with the remarkable players CSK have had in its books over the years. This is an attempt to rate the 5 players who have contributed the most towards CSK's success.
#5 Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja is one of the most colourful cricketers in CSK's books and contributes to every department of the game- batting, bowling, and fielding.
Jadeja was one of the breakout stars of one of the inaugural edition of the IPL, and his value only grew with each edition.
CSK nabbed Jadeja at the 2012 auction when they were involved in a bidding war for the all rounder's services with the then-Deccan Chargers. Eventually, Jadeja played for CSK and was one of three players retained when the CSK returned to the league last season.
Jadeja is the 4th highest wicket-taker in CSK history with 75 wickets, and only one of two bowlers (the other being L Balaji) to take 5 wickets in a single game.
He sits just outside the top-10 for runs scored for CSK and is nearing in on 1000 runs.
#4 Ravichandran Ashwin
In many ways, Ravi Ashwin's career trajectory resembles the dream scenario for a lot of young Indian cricketers.
He used the IPL as a springboard to launch himself into international cricket, where he has already developed a reputation as one of India's greatest spinners.
In his 6 years at CSK, he left a legacy that will be tough to match. He is the leading wicket-taker in CSK history with 120 wickets to his name.
He was also known for his economical bowling, best showcased by his meagre economy of 6.66 throughout his career with the franchise. He also has a team-high 5 maidens to his name.
He was involved in a number of memorable matches for the franchise, most notably against RCB, getting the better of the dangerous Chris Gayle on most occasions.
#3 Dwayne Bravo
Few players have taken to CSK, and the city Chennai, as the Trinidadian Dwayne Bravo has in his time with the franchise.
He's a bit of a cult figure, and has even featured in a Tamil film song!
Having signed for CSK in 2012, Bravo has provided plenty of thrills, spills and exhilarating highlights for the fans.
He is the second highest wicket-taker in CSK history, with 107 wickets to his name, and could very well soon overtake Ravi Ashwin and claim the first spot. He is one of only 2 players (the other being Bhuvneshwar Kumar) to win the Purple Cap twice.
He's no muck with the bat either, and is currently the 7th highest run-scorer for CSK, with over 1000 runs at an average of 30 and strike-rate of nearly 140.
Most importantly, Bravo adds a lot that can't be compressed into numbers, as his mere presence lifts the side to greater heights.
#2 Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina has a number of incredible IPL records, including:
Most IPL runs ever - 4985 runs at an average of 34, strike-rate 138, with 35 fifties and 1 century
Most catches ever - 95 catches, 16 ahead of second-placed Rohit Sharma
He also holds down other records for most matches played, and most number of consecutive matches played.
In short, Suresh Raina has been an absolute mammoth for CSK and a massive reason for their success over the years. He has played a starring role in many crunch encounters as well.
People might even argue that he has been the most important player for CSK, and they might have a valid claim at that.
#1 MS Dhoni
Could it really have been anybody else? Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an adopted son of Chennai, he is as loved as any of the film superstars and has become a part of the fabric of the city.
For the first IPL, many sides had local heroes as marquee players. Mumbai had Sachin, Kolkata had Ganguly, Bangalore had Dravid, but Chennai had MS Dhoni.
He instantly absorbed himself into the local culture and developed his own culture around the team, one of consistency, grit, and success.
Under his leadership, CSK have been a threat in every single edition of the IPL. There have been countless instances when he has helped snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and his side never gives up.
He has nearly 4000 runs at an average of 40 and strike-rate of 140 for CSK, but his impact has been so much more.
Chennai Super Kings is what it is today in large part thanks to MS Dhoni's contributions over the years.