In the 13 historical years of the Indian Premier League, CSK has failed to qualify for the playoffs this year, for the very first time. As a matter of fact, CSK did not play two editions due to the imposed ban. Even if we discard that, they’ve qualified for every single time they played in the past. And not to forget, Kings entered into this year’s edition as one of the favorite contenders for the title.
Unfortunately, the team stitched up disappointing performances one after the other, amounting to be the first team to crash out of the IPL2020. In this blog, we look at the top three lacking factors behind the historical first for CSK this year.
CSK: Lack of Team Dynamics
A mix of experience and youth is amongst the top virtues of forming a cricketing team. Unfortunately, CSK management forgot this when they were at the mega auction table in 2018. As they say, tournaments like IPL are won in the auction room, more than the field of play. CSK is known to form playing XIs with internationally experienced players. However, an international experience also comes with the age. The auction strategy clearly lacked the vision of playing three years with the same team. No wonder, the team was tagged as a “Dad’s Army” as soon as the auction was over.
In 2018, the likes of Dhoni and Watson were close to their international career and were not nearing 40. Similarly, Faf and Kedar Jadhav were yet to cross the 35, and Jaddu was yet to cross 30. All these factors made the 2018 edition team dynamic in 2018 when they could execute the strategy at will, and won the title. By the year 2020, the same team has lost its athleticism ( regardless to say: due to the age factor), a paramount factor of success while playing cricket in large stadiums of UAE.
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Lack of Innovative Strategy
“Take the game deep, and hit long shots when bowlers are under pressure”. CSK has won so many games over the years with this strategy. Least to say that their captain and probably one of the best finisher in white-ball cricket – Mahendra Sing Dhoni – is a mastermind behind it.
But if you don’t innovate, the world is bound to catch you. And that exact thing happened with CSK this year. A couple of teams this year clung on the strategy and ensured the best bowlers at the end, not allowing long shots. Not to say other teams followed the suit. CSK lost at least four or five matches purely because of this strategical failure. By the time they decided to hit from the start, they had their toe in the exit door.
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CSK Management: Lack of “Spark”
On top of all these, the team management refused to try young players, citing a lack of “Spark”. And that too despite the consistent failures of old guns in the batting department. Towards the end of the league stage, Ruturaj Gaekwad shown to the management what he is capable of. Though Jagdeesan was handed a debut in one match and did well, he was replaced with the out-of-touch Kedar Jadhav.
Let’s not forget that Watson’s lack of runs in the league stages was ignored since others carried the team to the playoffs. However, consistent high risks bite you back if you don’t mitigate it – a highlight of CSK’s 2020 edition.
To me personally, the spark lacked in the adamant team management more than the young players. If you keep trying failing old horses, you are bound to lose. In the fast pace tournaments like IPL, you cannot rely on the hope that your experience players will come good one day. By the time they do, other teams may have knocked you out of the tournament.
In addition to the factors above, the absence of Suresh Raina at 3, and CSK’s casual approach towards the start of the tournaments – remember the match against RR in Sharjah, which CSK could have won – played important role in CSK’s historical first