‘The dad’s army’, ‘a team of oldies’, ‘a team that lacks vision’, ‘they need to change’ — Chennai Super Kings had been targeted with a lot of criticism after their disappointing IPL 2020 campaign. Fast forward 10 months and CSK proved their doubters wrong making it to the IPL 2021 playoffs for a record 11th time in 12 seasons & that too in style. Reason – One man’s huge belief on his team & a very special message to his teammates.
That man was none other than the team’s captain MS Dhoni.
Dhoni’s special message to his teammates gave them strength & belief to make a turnaround which each and every CSK & Cricket fan is witnessing today.
CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan has now revealed that GOLDEN message given by MS Dhoni. In an exclusive chat with us CSK CEO said Dhoni’s special message and backing from the investors is the reason that CSK has made this great turnaround.
“The message from MS was very clear: Don’t worry. It was just one season and it happens in sports” a very happy Kasi Viswanathan revealed to InsideSport on Friday.
According to Kasi these golden words by Dhoni gave such a belief to the entire team that everything is not lost & we can make a turnaround next season. Kasi said that after this message by the captain none was worried or concerned. Everyone had faith in the captain that we will bounce back in no time.
“We were not worried or concerned at all and had all the confidence in the captain and the team that they will bounce back in no time. You can see, we did that,” revealed elated Kasi
MS Dhoni’s body language on Thursday summed up the team’s message. Dhoni looked distraught after IPL 2020 exit and finishing 7th on the points table with eight losses. But on Thursday, it was a happy face beaming with confidence.
“It means a lot, because the last time, we said we wanted to come back strong. We are known for that and there was a lot at stake. You won’t always win games and a lot didn’t go our way last time, and it’s important not to make excuses and we have done that this year,” MS Dhoni said at the post-match presentation on Thursday after their six-wicket win over SRH.
- Ageing team. The team’s average age is over 30. Take into account the first team, the average age hits 33.
- Off-form of MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu was a problem.
- Missing Suresh Raina in the middle-order was a huge gap that none failed to plug.
- Missing a reliable all-rounder like Dwayne Bravo in the lower-order was another blow as he was ruled out due to injury in most matches.
- Lack of match practice due to retired players. Over-dependence on Lungi Ngidi, Sam Curran.
The 💛, 👏🏼 & 🥳 galore at the Super Kings' landing!#WhistlePodu #Yellove 🦁 pic.twitter.com/wLBHfMlRhb
— Chennai Super Kings – Mask P😷du Whistle P🥳du! (@ChennaiIPL) October 1, 2021
However, at the IPL 2021 Auctions, it left everyone surprised that CSK didn’t change their way. They retained players like Dwayne Bravo, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Ambati Rayudu apart from skipper MS Dhoni — all of whom were over 35. Furthermore, they were all first-team players. But the team didn’t lose confidence for a moment and the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Deepak Chahar, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Ambati Rayudu consistently delivered and stepped up when others couldn’t.
How did CSK turn around from a disastrous IPL 2020?
- Consistency: One big reason that other franchises have lacked and CSK have is consistency. Either the bowling department of the batting do the job of winning matches.
- Confidence in players: No matter how badly the team does, the skipper and the team management retain the core in every match even if means missing out on some better talent. Despite Ruturaj Gaikwad failing in the first two matches, CSK didn’t drop him and backed the batsman. Now, Gaikwad is IPL’s fifth top-scorer with 407 runs.
- Plug the holes: Moeen Ali at No 3 was a big gamble that paid off. The English all-rounder failed at RCB but CSK picked him up anyway and promoted him to No 3. With his explosive batting, he made the place his own.
- Suresh Raina & Ambati Rayudu: Ambati Rayudu’s form and Suresh Raina’s return to the squad have been a major boost for the team. Even though Suresh Raina hasn’t done well in the UAE this time, the top-order can play freely thinking that Raina will take care of middle-order. Ambati Rayudu’s explosive batting form is the other major boost.
“Not for a moment we were concerned about the team’s success. We were confident of things to go well even if we had to move to the UAE once again. The loss in the first match was part of the process and nobody lost their confidence because of it,” Kasi Viswanathan told