Chennai Super Kings are one of the most successful franchises in the history of the Indian Premier League. They have qualified for the playoffs in every season they have played. Out of 10 IPL editions, they featured in eight IPL finals and went on to lift the trophy thrice.
The way they have built the franchise is a lesson for every team. The franchise formed a stable core and structured the team around that core. Then started the association with the most important factor for any franchise - the fans.
Chennai Super Kings has a special connection with the fans. The fact that they arranged a train for them to travel to watch the team play is an indicator. The fans do give it back as thousands throng the stadium for practice sessions. Seeing the adulation, players from all over the world have wanted to play for them.
Some players like Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu have felt home at CSK despite representing another team for years. There have been few unlucky ones who were part of the team but couldn't play a single game. Here are five such international stars who never played a game for them.
#1 Andrew Tye
When CSK made a comeback in 2018, the preparations started from the day they became eligible to play. The IPL Governing Council announced that five players from their previous squads could be retained. Fans filled the social media handles with their own choices.
The first three were unanimous choices, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, and Ravindra Jadeja. Dwayne Bravo was a certain 'Right to match' option. Three players in Faf du Plessis, Brendon McCullum, and Andrew Tye were in contention for the final slot.
Since 2011, Faf was with CSK and had done well at every opportunity. Despite being part of the team for just two years, McCullum's contribution to the team was high. It was natural to see these two names on the list. But it was surprising to see many recommendations from fans to buy back Andrew Tye.
The revealing fact was, Tye never played a single game for CSK. He was part of the 2015 squad but was out of action for the season. CSK tried to get Tye but Kings XI Punjab got him. The Australian went to win the Purple Cap in 2018 while CSK won the cup in 2018.
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#2 Matt Henry
Matt Henry is a name every Indian cricket fan will remember for the spell he bowled in the semi-finals of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. He dismissed the trio of Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, and Dinesh Karthik and also the hopes of the billions with his man of the match performance.
Making an impact against India isn't new to Matt Henry. He showed it in his debut international game in 2014. His spell of 4-38 broke the Indian middle-order resulting in an 87-run loss in the ODI. With his performance, he earned the confidence of a fellow New Zealander in Stephen Fleming, who was the coach of Chennai Super Kings.
He was not part of the initial auction list but was added later on with his impressive showing. CSK bought him in the auction in 2014. He was expected to play a part after the team lost its primary all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to injury in the first game of the season.
But he didn't get to play a game. He was retained for the 2015 season only to be benched again.
#3 Irfan Pathan
Right from the inception of the IPL, Irfan Pathan has been one of the most impactful players of the league. His swing bowling with the new ball and his temperament at the death overs were instrumental factors. The southpaw had the ability to with the bat as he can clear the boundaries with ease.
His all-round potential made him a hot property in the IPL auctions he was part of. He was the fifth costliest player in the big auctions of 2008 and 2011. He was also the costliest player to be bought for his franchise for the first six seasons. He was a vital cog for his franchise. An injury to him in the qualifiers of the 2012 season resulted in the exit of his team Delhi Daredevils.
But his form dropped a bit in 2014 when he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad. He was released the following season. CSK, looking for quality all-rounders, bought him at the auction. The pre-season talks showed that he could play a major role. But on the contrary, he was not given a single game. CSK went to hibernation after 2015 as Pathan never got a chance to play for them.
#4 Akila Dananjaya
Chennai Super Kings have always relied on the spinners to deliver the goods for them. The track at the Chepauk suits their spinners as well. Their association with Sri Lankan spinners started in 2008.
Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan is the first-ever overseas player bought by the Super Kings. He tasted success with CSK in the first three seasons. Then CSK tried out Suraj Randiv. The tall off-spinner played eight games without much success resulting in his ousting.
In 2012, Sri Lanka threw a surprise by picking a certain Akila Danajaya in the World Cup. Danajaya had not played any first-class, List-A or even U-19 cricket. He did well in the only game before being fractured by a straight hit from Rob Nicol.
CSK bought him in the auction in 2013, having lost the auction battle for Sachitra Senanayake to Kolkata Knight Riders. Dananjaya never got a chance to play as Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja occupied the spinner's slot.
#5 Kyle Abbott
Chennai Super Kings' exit in the 2014 season of the Indian Premier League sparked many debates. Their strategy to fill the overseas slots with batsmen and play an all-Indian bowling attack backfired badly. An overseas bowler has played key roles in the successful years of CSK.
The likes of Makhaya Ntini, Doug Bollinger, and Albie Morkel were some of them. CSK did realize this fact and went into the 2015 auctions with a mindset to buy as many fast bowlers as possible. With most of the top fast bowlers retained by teams in 2014, CSK had few options to play with.
CSK bought the likes of Andrew Tye, Irfan Pathan, and Kyle Abbott while lost the auction battle for Adam Milne, Praveen Kumar, and Jaydev Unadkat. But Abbott never got a chance to play in the season, despite showing great form in the 2015 Cricket World Cup that preceded the IPL.
His performance helped South Africa qualify for the semi-finals. Questions raised when he was dropped for the semi-final. With an impressive strike-rate and economy rate, he was expected to lead the CSK attack. But he never played a game.