Friday, February 11, 2011

CSK in IPL Auction 2011: Grades

CSK's day at the auction showed how lucky they were in retaining 4 players. With Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa going well over $2Mn, the worth of the 4 CSK players should be no less than $8 Mn (MSD: $3 Mn, Suresh Raina: $2.5 Mn, Murali Vijay: $2 Mn and Albie Morkel: $1+ Mn)

CSK was relentless in pursuing their ex-players and brought back Ashwin, Mike Hussey and Badrinath. The loss of Murali and Balaji, despite bidding $1 Mn and $0.475 Mn, will hurt but atleast they gave a sincere attempt

CSK strengthened its allrounders pool with the addition of Dwayne Bravo and Scott Styris and wicket keeping with Wridhaman Saha. Suraj Randhiv and Nuwan Kulasekara add value in strengthening the bowling department and also the Srilankan fan base

Let us evaluate the players we have in each of the positions and hand over Grades. In addition to rating the skill levels of the players, some team attributes like Dressing Room Chemistry and Leadership, Fair Play, Crowd Pulling ability, Bench Strength, Foreign - Indian Player Mix, and Country Representation have also been evaluated

Captaincy: A+
Captain Cool comes with an impressive resume - IPL Championship, Champions League Winners, and Finalist and Semi Finalist in first 2 IPL events. MSD brings a certain calmness, assured confidence and downplayed swagger to the team. He has the respect of experienced and foreign players and the awe of the rest. He works with the coaches pretty well and brings the crowds to the ground and to TV sets

Opening Batsmen (2): B+
In Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay, CSK has a pretty good opening pair. However, Mike is recovering from an hamstring injury and Vijay had a forgettable series in South Africa. Both will not be participating in the World Cup as well and may have some rust at the beginning of the IPL tournament. There are no reserves at this position

Middle Order Batsmen (3): B
Suresh Raina is a champ and a proven finisher. Badrinath is a consistent contributor but not a match winner. George Bailey is an unknown commodity in Indian conditions and against spin. There are no other specialists at this position

Wicket Keeper (1): A
Dhoni is a reliable wicket keeper and a useful lower order batsman. Wridhaman Saha is the young colt who has the potential to fill a middle order slot based on his batting alone

All Rounders (2): A+
Albie Morkel set the grounds on fire in IPL and Champions League with inspired performances. Dwayne Bravo and Scott Styris are two excellent additions and 1 out of these 2 will join Albie in the playing eleven. Bravo's limited availability for the 2011 event and Styris' recent lack of form should be a concern. We saw Francois Du Plessis in the recent SA series and he is expected to be in the reserves

Fast Bowlers (2): A
Doug Bollinger had been a class act in IPL 3 and is the strike bowler for CSK. Ben Hifenhaus is a very good fast bowler who can complement Dougie. Nuwan Kulasekara is a capable reserve. Sudeep Tyagi and Joginder Sharma will be in play in certain Foreigner - Indian mix scenarios

Spin Bowlers (2): B+
Ashwin was the find of IPL3 and is CSK's No. 2 bowler behind Doug. The loss of Murali will definitely hurt the bowling department. Suraj Randhiv is a capable No. 2 spinner. Given the challenges in other positions, the team would prefer Indian players for both positions and addition of Shadab Jakati will be a welcome move

Fielding: B+
CSK has a solid but not a spectacular fielding team. Suresh Raina and Badrinath are excellent fielders, Murali and Mike Hussey have safe pair of hands and the rest of the team are reliable fielders

Bench Strength: B
The team has built a solid bench for all rounders, fast bowlers and wicket keeper. However, reserves for spin bowling is weak and non existent for specialist batsmen (both opening and middle order)

Foreign - Player Mix: A
The foreigners pool is pretty solid and will exclusively man all rounders, fast bowlers and one of the 2 opener positions. Indians will fill in wicket keeper, spinners, middle order batsmen and one of the 2 opening slots. In all the balance looks pretty good

Dressing Room: A
CSK will have the largest number of returning players that will help build on their team chemistry and help induct new members into the team easily. The departure of Murali and Hayden will affect the leadership in the dressing room but Mike Hussey, Scott Styris and Dwayne Bravo will be expected to step up. The dressing room will continue to have a serious outlook with the exception of Suresh Raina. The identity of the team is talk less, do more and barring Andrew Flintoff a couple of years back, the rest of the team members try to remain low profile and let their play talk. The team has a few match winners but several team players

Fair Play: A+
CSK has always scored high on fair play and has won some awards as well. One can expect that with continuity, strong leadership and culture, CSK will continue to play a fair game

Crowd Pullers: A
MSD continues to be the biggest crowd puller apart from SRT and SRK. Doug Bollinger, Ashwin and Albie Morkel have impressed the audience with their performances. All rounders are always popular and the addition of Dwayne Bravo will help approve the team's appeal. The loss of Murali and Hayden is a dampener. However the team has the solid backing of its knowledgeable but conservative Chennai crowd. Being Champions and having non controversial players, the team has a neutral to high level of appeal to non Chennai crowds

Country Representation: B+
Players from Srilanka, Australia and South Africa are well represented in the team. Dwayne Bravo brings the West India flavor. After Flintoff the team lacks representation from England and Bangaldesh does not have representation as well

In summary, the team is shaping up well but need some strong local talent especially in specialized batting (opening and middle order) and spin bowling. The reserves need to be in place to make it a well rounded team

Overall the team gets an A- for its performance at the Player Auction

I hope this is a good start to the Blog and I look forward to your comments and feedback to get the engine cranking full speed. With a couple of months to go for IPL, it is a good time to start building up steam and passion for our team


  1. CSK ended up as the most complete team after two days of excessively agitated auction. i hope this time it 'll be cakewalk for CSK.

  2. I do not expect a cake walk for CSK. Mumbai Indians, Bangalore Royal Challengers and Kolkotta Knight Riders appeared to have become better this time around. The real strength of the teams will be known only after the local talent have been tapped. The schedule too appears tough for CSK. Let us do our best and hope for a repeat