Chennai Super Kings will make their much-awaited comeback to the Indian Premier League when they take the field on the opening day of season 11 against defending Mumbai Indians. It was an emotional two years for the Chennai fans, who were starved from watching their superstars play in the city. CSK were suspended for two years following the spot-fixing scandal. Also making a return to the side is Chennai's favourite son Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The former India captain was retained by the franchise along with Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.
Dhoni was the man at the helm of affairs when CSK were IPL champions in subsequent seasons in 2010 and 2011. The Champions League 2010 also saw Dhoni lead CSK to the title.
His record speaks for itself as he has been a phenomenal presence in the Indian scheme of things as well, winning the 2007 World Twenty 20 and the 2011 World Cup for India.
Dhoni began his IPL career with CSK in the very first edition of the tournament in 2008. He has, over the 10 years, scored 3561 runs in 159 matches he has played for CSK and RPS, at an average of 37.88, with the highest score of 70 not out.
Despite retaining three T20I stars from the Indian cricket team, Chennai adopted a surprise strategy during the mega IPL auction, held in Bengaluru earlier this year.
They picked up some more of their former players in Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Murali Vijay. Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Imran Tahir, Ambati Rayudu were among the other notable players bought by Chennai.
The franchise seemed to be in the market for the more experienced players and in the end, most players bought by Chennai were over the age of 30.
Like putting their faith in Dhoni, CSK's support staff will also have a familiar look with former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming back as the team's head coach. CSK, roped in Laxmipathy Balaji as their bowling coach, appointed Michael Hussey as their batting coach while trainer Gregory King and physio Tommy Simsek from the old set up also remain.
CSK have enjoyed a 100 percent track record of making it to the playoffs of every IPL they played also having won the IPL and Champions league T20 twice. The franchise would be hoping to reclaim their lost honour and continue their domination in the tournament.
Squad: MS Dhoni(c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan