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CSK Strategy At IPL 2024 Auction: Which Players Will MS Dhoni And Co. Go For?

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All eyes will be on MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as the Indian Premier League (IPL) Auction 2024 takes place on December 19 in Dubai. While the IPL 2024 season is set to begin in March of next year, CSK’s title defense begins with the auction itself. With other title contenders expected to strengthen their squads, Chennai must get the squad balance right for the upcoming season if they are to retain their crown.

The Super Kings have already released some big names ahead of the 2024 IPL season, including Ben Stokes, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Pretorius, and Kyle Jamieson. Sisanda Magala, Bhagath Varma, Akash Singh, and Subhranshu Senapati have also released, leaving CSK with a roster of 19 players.

CSK’s retained players list for IPL 2024:

MS Dhoni (captain and wicket-keeper), Moeen Ali, Deepak Chahar, Devon Conway (wicket-keeper), Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajay Mandal, Mukesh Choudhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Ajinkya Rahane, Shaik Rasheed, Mitchell Santner, Simarjeet Singh, Nishant Sindhu, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana.

This leaves CSK with a purse of 31.4 crore INR to strengthen their squad at the IPL 2024 mini-auction in Dubai and enough financial muscle to go after the big-money players they want.

With only six spots left to fill in the squad, the big question is who MS Dhoni and the CSK management will target in the upcoming auction.

CSK’s IPL 2024 auction strategy

CSK has a reputation for making risky moves in IPL auctions, and their bets have usually paid off.

Back in 2008, at the inaugural IPL Auction, Chennai Super Kings pulled off a masterstroke of a move. CSK chose to safeguard their purse for a then-record bid of US$ 1.5 million for one MS Dhoni instead of succumbing to the allure of an icon player, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Dhoni would go on to lead the team to 10 finals in CSK’s 14 seasons, winning five IPL titles in the process, tying Mumbai Indians for the most in the league’s 16 seasons.

Except for the experienced Ambati Rayadu, who retired after last season’s final, CSK has managed to retain the entirety of their regular starting XI from the IPL 2023.

Rayadu appeared in all 16 of CSK’s IPL 2023 matches, and replacing the seasoned campaigner in the middle order will be MS Dhoni’s top priority in the pre-season.

Fortunately for CSK, there will be plenty of options. While the Kiwi duo of Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell, both of whom are coming off strong performances at the 2023 World Cup, are strong overseas options, Manish Pandey, Shahrukh Khan, and Karun Nair will considered if CSK decides to go the domestic player route to fill Rayadu’s shoes.

Shahrukh Khan, who has released by Punjab Kings, is an especially intriguing case. CSK offered a whopping 8.75 crores for the Tamil Nadu batter before eventually selling him to PBKS for 9.00 crores at the IPL 2022 auction.

CSK has a history of going back for players they missed at auctions, and Khan being a Chennai native adds some extra incentive for the CSK management to make the move happen.

Daryl Mitchell, who can contribute as a sixth bowler, is another intriguing option. Furthermore, the departures of Dwayne Pretorius and Kyle Jamieson make room in the squad for a fast-bowling all-rounder. Mitchell, on the other hand, will not be cheap after his World Cup exploits.

Last season, CSK suffered from a lack of a specialist pace bowler in the death overs, and Dhoni will be eager to fill the void. Furthermore, the Men in Yellow could benefit from a little more firepower in their pace battery.

Deepak Chahar and Matheesha Pathirana performed admirably with the new ball for CSK last season, but the former’s injury record and the latter’s inexperience will be cause for concern.

Former CSK players Shardul Thakur and Josh Hazlewood can both be ideal answers and will be available for bidding at the maximum base price of INR 2 crore. Thakur was CSK’s leading wicket-taker during their title-winning season in 2021. Given his track record in the IPL, CSK strategists may be interested in Harshal Patel as well.

The speedster from Australia Mitchell Starc is expected to attract big bids from multiple teams and could be an interesting option if CSK decides to splash the cash on a proven match-winner.

CSK may have done well without Ben Stokes last season, but having a proven match-winner in the squad is a luxury that few teams will pass up if the opportunity arises.

Rachin Ravindra and Travis Head may also considered if CSK decides to bolster what they already have.

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