The crowd favourite and the most consistent Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings is making their comeback after the ban of two years, under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Dhoni has been leading the CSK squad for eight years and under his captaincy, the team had won two IPL trophies in 2010 and 2011.

In the much-talked about IPL players auction, CSK retained their core squad with the exception of spin wizard Ravichandran Ashwin. Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Santner are the spinners in the squad.

MS Dhoni’s boys will take on Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the tournament and CSK will aim to start the series on a winning not as they are making their comeback after two years.

Here is The Statesman take on Chennai Super Kings squad:

Chennai’s champions are making their comeback and the team will aim to end their two years’ hiatus by winning the IPL trophy. Just like any other time, CSK’s squad is the most balanced in the IPL.

Batting line-up of CSK:

Australian player Shane Watson, along with Indian cricket Murali Vijay, is expected to open for Chennai Super Kings. and while Vijay will aim to make an impact on the viewers with his batting, Watson’s form in the IPL 2017 can be a reason of concern for MS Dhoni and his team. Vijay had not played IPL 2017. However, he had scored 453 runs in 14 matches for Kings Xi Punjab in 2016.

Chennai Super Kings’ middle-order is full of T20 stars. MS Dhoni (Matches 161, Runs 4540, Best 100, Average 34.14, S/R 139.05), Suresh Raina (Matches 159, Runs 3561, Best 70, Average 37.88, S/R 136.75) and Ravindra Jadeja will give the depth to the CSK squad. And then there are the likes of Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Ambati Raydu, who are experienced enough to the team an edge. With Kedar Jadhav also in the squad, CSK have so many options in their batting line-up.

Stephen Fleming has been appointed the batting coach of the franchise.

All-rounders:

CSK have the likes of Shane Watson (Matches 102, Runs 2622, Best 104, Average 31.21, S/R 138.66, Wickets 86, Best 4/29), Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja in their squad as all-rounders. Watson is expected to be the key player for the team and other than him, Bravo and Jadeja are other high-profile all-rounders in the side.

Bowlers:

With the reason unknown, Chennai has gone heavy on spin, they have Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Santner. However, it is going to be a challenge for former Indian skipper to choose among the spinners for a place in the playing XI.

Former Mumbai Indians player Harbhajan Singh (Matches 136, Wickets 127, Best 5/18, Economy 6.96) is expected to lead the spin attack of the team.

And the experience of Mitchell Santner can be handy for the side and Karn Sharma can be filled for the role of the fourth spinner in the side.

However, what will CSK do with as many spinners in their side?

South Africa’s rising star Lungi Ngidi can lead the pace attack of CSK and India’s Shardul Thakur can also play the key role in IPL 2018. England’s Mark Wood and Rajasthan’s Deepak Chahar can play the role of the third and fourth pacer, respectivley.

Players who can be a threat to other teams: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Lungi Ngidi.

CSK schedule and list of matches with venues:

Saturday 7th April 2018

Match 1, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai- Mumbai Indians v Chennai Super Kings

Tuesday 10th April 2018

Match 5, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai- Chennai Super Kings v Kolkata Knight Riders

Sunday 15th April 2018

Match 12, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore -Kings XI Punjab v Chennai Super Kings

Friday 20th April 2018

Match 17, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai- Chennai Super Kings v Rajasthan Royals

Sunday 22nd April 2018

Match 20, 16:00 IST (10:30 GMT), Rajiv Gandhi Intl. Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad- Sunrisers Hyderabad v Chennai Super Kings

Wednesday 25th April 2018

Match 24, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru- Royal Challengers Bangalore v Chennai Super Kings

Saturday 28th April 2018

Match 27, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai- Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians

Monday 30th April 2018

Match 30, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai- Chennai Super Kings v Delhi Daredevils

Thursday 3rd May 2018

Match 33, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), Eden Gardens, Kolkata- Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings

Saturday 5th May 2018

Match 35, 16:00 IST (10:30 GMT), M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai- Chennai Super Kings v Royal Challengers Bangalore

Friday 11th May 2018

Match 43, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur- Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Super Kings

Sunday 13th May 2018

Match 46, 16:00 IST (10:30 GMT), M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai- Chennai Super Kings v Sunrisers Hyderabad

Friday 18th May 2018

Match 52, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi- Delhi Daredevils v Chennai Super Kings

Sunday 20th May 2018

Match 56, 20:00 IST (14:30 GMT), M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai- Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab

Chennai Super Kings squad: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan, Santner, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, M Vijay, Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi.