Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had a forgettable season in IPL 2022, finishing ninth among the ten teams, winning only four out of 14 matches. However, the team’s decision to keep faith in its players ahead of the IPL auction in December 2022 seems to be paying off in IPL 2023. CSK is currently second on the points table, having won six of their 11 matches. Ravi Shastri, former India head coach, attributes the team’s success to MS Dhoni’s ‘foresight’ in keeping faith in underperforming players who he believed would come good in the future.
“He’s (Dhoni) a master at creating a combination,” Shastri said on ESPNcricinfo. “It’s intuitive. It’s understanding. Probably persisting with a guy who might not be good in 2022, but having the foresight to believe he’ll be very good in 2023, giving him that confidence in 2022 to go through the grind, thinking ahead, and he would’ve done that with a few players. I won’t be surprised. I’m not in the mix there, I won’t know but definitely he thinks in that fashion.”
Shastri commended Dhoni’s ability to create a combination that is intuitive and understanding. He believes that Dhoni persisted with players who were not performing well in 2022 but had the foresight to believe that they would be valuable in 2023. Dhoni instilled confidence in these players, which allowed them to go through the grind and improve.
Despite keeping faith in their players, CSK bought Ben Stokes, Kyle Jamieson, and Ajinkya Rahane during the mini-auction. While Stokes and Jamieson are struggling with fitness concerns, Rahane has been a revelation for the team. Shastri believes that CSK is settled and looks like a team that is certain to make the playoffs.
“When you look at this side now who look almost certain to make it to the playoffs, and look extremely dangerous when it comes to the playoffs, two games in Chennai, it’s a team that can go the distance. Because it’s already settled. If there’s tinkering, it’ll be because of injury. Otherwise, they’ve got it right,” he said.
Shastri also praised CSK’s team management for getting the balance right. He believes that the team is dangerous and can go the distance in the tournament, especially with two games in Chennai. Shastri predicts that any tinkering in the team will be due to injury, as the team is already settled. CSK’s next matches are against Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders at home before they travel to the national capital for their final league match. With six wins under their belt, the team is in a strong position.