Chennai Super Kings has been one of the most successful T20 teams ever and arguably the popular teams in IPL history. It is owned by India cements, who bought the team for $91 million in 2008, with CSK's brand being evaluated at $65 million in 2018.
They have won the coveted trophy three times and made it to the finals a record 6 times. Their approach during the auctions is strategic compared to other franchises and they prefer to retain their core each year.
Players become the face of the team and fans usually remember the players who made the team what it is today. CSK has had many such legendary players in its line-up but there have been just a few constants who have been associated with the franchise for a very long period and would be taking part in the 2019 edition as well.
Let's look a list of 5 players with a couple of notable mentions:
#5 Dwayne Bravo
Dwayne Bravo "The Champion Dancer" has been one of the hot properties in IPL. Dwayne Bravo played for the Mumbai Indians for the first three seasons.
The big Trinidadian was picked up by CSK during 2011 IPL Auctions as a specialist all-rounder.
Bravo was one of the top performers during the 2012 IPL scoring 461 runs with the bat at an average of 57. He usually batted with MS Dhoni in the latter stages and ended with a brilliant strike rate of 178. Bravo ended the season with 19 wickets and became the highest wicket-taker.
Bravo won the Purple Cap for being the highest wicket-taker in 2013 IPL with 32 wickets at an average of 9.50. He sustained shoulder injury in IPL 2014 in the first match against Kings XI Punjab which ruled him out of the tournament.
Bravo won the Purple cap for the second time playing for CSK with 26 wickets in the 2015 IPL. Bravo is one of the two players who has won 2 purple caps in IPL history, with other being Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Bravo who played an important role in CSK's triumph was retained by the franchise in 2018 IPL for 6.40 Crores.
Bravo will be playing again for CSK in the 2019 IPL and without a doubt, he will be Dhoni's go-to man during the death overs.
#4 Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja has been one of the vital cogs for CSK representing the franchise from the year 2012. Jadeja and Ashwin were a force in the spin-bowling department and won a number of matches for the franchise.
Ravindra Jadeja has been the bowling all-rounder for CSK, who gives them 4 important overs with the ball and does the finishing honours with MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo with the bat. Jadeja scored 191 runs at an average of 15.9 with the bat and 12 wickets at 22.50 with the ball.
Jadeja improved his performance in 2013 scoring 201 runs at 25.12 with the bat and picked up 13 wickets. Jaddu's performance dipped in 2014 and 2015 seasons where he collectively scored 278 runs with the bat at 22 and picked up 30 wickets in the process.
Jadeja was retained for 2018 IPL and made useful contributions with the bat especially in the first game when CSK chased a mammoth 203 against KKR. He also became famous for his expressionless celebration when he dismissed RCB skipper Virat Kohli.
Ravindra Jadeja will be an asset for CSK in 2019 IPL, with his big hitting, consistent bowling and electrifying fielding.
#3 Michael Hussey
Mike Hussey is called Mr.Cricket for a reason. He is one of the most loved Aussies in the IPL. Hussey has been associated with CSK since its inception in 2008. Hussey and Matthew Hayden were the 2 big Australian players that CSK had picked up during the auctions
Hayden was preferred over Hussey in the first few seasons where Hussey played a few matches. In the first season in 2008, Hussey played for 4 matches scoring 168 runs at an average of 84 with the highest score of 116*. Hussey had a forgetful season in 2010, where he scored 37 runs in 3 matches at an average of 12.33.
Hussey came back strongly in the 2011 and 2012 seasons where he scored 492 and 261 runs respectively with a collective 6 fifties across the 2 seasons.
Hussey came into his own in the 2013 season when he won the Orange Cap for scoring 733 runs in 17 matches with 6 50+ scores. Hussey opened the innings and was one of the prime reasons why CSK qualified for the Finals. His failure in the finals ended CSK's dreams of becoming triumphant for the third time.
Hussey now serves as the batting coach of CSK and is one of the main guys behind their batting plans. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina have hailed Hussey as a great mind and a calming influence in the team.
#2 Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina is one of the biggest IPL stars the tournament has seen. He has been with CSK right from its inception in 2008. Raina is the undisputed number 3 for CSK who has the record of scoring over 400 runs in 10 different seasons.
Raina had a major impact in 2010 with his consistent batting where he surpassed the all-time run-getter of IPL, the legendary Adam Gilchrist halfway through the tournament. He scored 520 runs in the tournament and he finished third. Raina scored an important half-century against Mumbai Indians in the final, which earned him a MoM and made Chennai IPL champions for the first time.
Raina was retained by the Super Kings for the IPL 2011 along with MS Dhoni, Murali Vijay and Albie Morkel. Raina scored 438 runs and played some crucial knocks which included an aggressive fifty against the RCB in the qualifiers.
Raina scored 441 runs in 2012 smashed a stroke-filled 73 in the final against Kolkata Knight Riders to help his CSK put up 190 runs on the board. In the process, Raina became the first player in the IPL history to cross 2000 runs.
Raina scored 548 runs at an average of 42.15 and strike rate over 150 in the 2013 season. He scored his maiden IPL hundred against Kings XI Punjab. Raina was again responsible to bring CSK to finals, but his failure became one of the reasons for CSK bowing out.
Raina's most explosive knock in IPL 2014 was the 87 runs, he made against Kings XI Punjab in a mere 25 balls. However, he played a breathtaking innings in the Champions League T20 finals scoring 109* from 62 balls and made CSK win their 2nd CLT20 title.
Raina was retained by CSK for 2018 IPL for 11 Crores and he will play a massive role again in 2019 IPL, which will also be a gateway for him to get selected in the World 2019 squad.
#1 Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the face of CSK. The fans of CSK mainly come to watch him play and captain the side. After all, CSK's anthem "Whistle Podu" is coined on him. He is a cult hero in Chennai and one of the most influential people in IPL and Indian Sporting history.
Dhoni was the costliest player in the first season in 2008 where he was bought by CSK for $1.5 million (6 Crores). He has been the most successful IPL captain ever with 3 IPL and 2 Champions League Titles. Dhoni who has been a batting giant has always played in the middle order taking up finishing duties with him occasionally coming at number 3.
Dhoni is above numbers and statistics. He is an impact player who ensures his team comes up trumps in all situations. His team combinations, the choice of overseas players during auctions, on-field decisions and his connection with the fans is just mesmerizing to watch.
His calm demeanour and his finishing abilities are something that needs to be appreciated. He has finished a countless number of matches and for CSK and he will continue to do so in the future as well. Whenever CSK needs a certain amount of runs and Dhoni is batting, the opposition bowler is under pressure.
Dhoni had a great season in 2018 IPL, where he was at his aggressive best. He will probably play his last season for CSK in 2019 and he is sure to create an impact.
"Enga Thalai Dhoni ku periya whistle adinge"
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