Powerful batting line-up boosts Super Kings

April 16th, 2008 - 9:07 pm ICT by admin  

(Team Profile)

Chennai, April 16 (IANS) Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the super star of the Chennai Super Kings. The skipper of India’s shorter and the shortest versions of the game, has a squad that can hope to win the Indian Premier League in its inaugural year. Super Kings have bought India Cements for $91 million for a period of 10 years and then invested a record $5.9 million to cobble up a star-studded squad.

The franchise owners went over board during the first round of players auction and exceeded their $5 million cap, thanks to their biggest catch, Dhoni whom they brought for a whopping $1.5 million, the highest paid for any player in the competition.

N. Srinivasan, treasurer of the Indian cricket board, is also the managing director of the company.

Dhoni will be leading an enviable line-up, players like Matthew Hayden, Stephen Fleming and Muttiah Muralitharan in the ranks.

Interesting Fact:

The theme song of Chennai Super Kings, penned by Vairamuthu (a Tamil poet and a film lyricist) is being composed by Mani Sharma (a Tollywood music director) and is directed by Rajiv Menon, who directed the hit Tamil film Minsaara Kanavu in 1996. The name “Super Kings” is to honour the rulers of the golden era of Tamil culture.

Strengths:

Chennai Super King have a balanced batting line-up, with big hitters like Dhoni, Matthew Hayden, Jacob Oram and Albie Morkel on one hand and accumulators in Mike Hussey, Stephen Fleming, Suresh Raina and Parthiv Patel on the other. The team has also roped in Sri Lankan spin wizard, Muttiah Muralitharan, who can befuddle any batsmen on any surface. To add to their strength, South African pacer Makhaya Ntini’s return to form is hugely encouraging for them.

Weaknesses:

Apart from Ntini and Murali, the team’s bowling attack is a bit vulnerable as Oram and Morkel are not specialist pacers, and could be targeted by the opposition team. They will have to rely on their young domestic bowlers to do the back up job. Their main concern is that they do not have a world-class fielder, but they have some youngsters with fresh legs.

Overseas players to watch out for:

Mike Hussey: The 33-year-old left-handed middle-order Australian batsman, spent his 20s on the domestic circuit playing for Western Australia and has 11 years of first-class experience.

Hussey, who debuted for Australia in 2004, is well known for his ability to guide his team home in shorter version of the game. He has a penchant for remaining unbeaten, which has resulted in him having phenomenal averages of 78 in Tests, second only to Sir Donald Bradman and 55.60 in ODIs.

Hussey nicknamed Mr. Cricket for his cricketing acumen, averages close to 23 with a thumping strike rate of 130 in Twenty20.

Matthew Hayden: The Queenslander is an aggressive opener and has been the cornerstone of Australia’s batting since his debut against England in 1993.

‘Haydos’ to his teammates, he is known for his powerful hitting in every form of the game. In last year’s Twenty20 World Cup, he topped the aggregate charts with 256 and has a T-20 average of 51.33.

Apart from his batting prowess, Hayden has one of the safest pairs of hands in the slips.

Jacob Oram: The 6ft-6inch tall Kiwi started his career as a soccer goalkeeper, but soon took to cricket and has developed his all-round skills. Though he does not have express pace, his height allows him to extract considerable bounce, making him a handy bowler.

Domestic players to watch out for:

Joginder Sharma: A bowling all-rounder Joginder’s consistent performance in the domestic circuit earned him a call to the national side for the 2004 Bangladesh tour. But that outing did not give him any exposure. But the turning point of Joginder’s career came in 2007 when he was picked for the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa where he did exceedingly well as an intelligent medium-pacer in death overs.

Suresh Raina: Suresh Raina, a left-handed stroke-maker, drew national attention when he scored three half centuries including a 90 off 38 balls at the U-19 World Cup in 2004.

The performance earned him a call for the senior side against Sri Lanka in 2005.

Raina is not only an accumulator in the middle-order, but also an electrifying fielder within the 30-yard circle.

Subramaniam Badrinath: The 27-year-old right-hand batsman from Tamil Nadu has been knocking the doors of Indian team for quite some time with consistent showing at the domestic level. He has a point to prove in the IPL.

Coach: Kepler Wessels

Wessels was South Africa’s first captain post isolation. He has also played 24 Tests for Australia. Wessels’ last coaching assignment was with Northamptonshire, which ended in 2006.

Former Indian opener and national selector V.B. Chandrasekhar is the chief selector of Super Kings.

Squad with price tags:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni ($1.5 million), Matthew Hayden ($375,000), Stephen Fleming ($350,000), Mike Hussey ($350,000), Jacob Oram ($675,000), Makhaya Ntini ($200,000), Muttiah Muralitharan ($600,000), Albie Morkel ($675,000), Joginder Sharma ($225,000), Suresh Raina ($650,000), Parthiv Patel ($325,000), Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Abhinav Mukund, Suresh Kumar, Arun Karthik, Shadab Jakati, Napoleon Einstein, Subramaniam Badrinath, Lakshmipathy Balaji, R. Ashwin, Srikkanth Anirudha, Viraj Vilas Kadbe, Palani Amarnath, Manpreet Gony.

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