A series of articles where fans from each team were asked a set of questions ahead of the start of the season. The team in focus here is Chennai Super Kings, and Jaimin Fojdar presents his point of view about his favourite team.

  • Chennai Super Kings are not just a team, they are an emotion; we often hear this phrase associated with CSK. How true are these words for you as a fan? How emotionally attached are you to CSK and what makes them your favorite team?

“Whistle Podu” is an emotion. My first ever cricket jersey was a CSK yellow. 💛

CSK is more of a family. As family sticks together in good and bad times, so has the CSK management. Hence we have the same core from the initial years. Of course, most of the emotion is focused around Dhoni, as the whole team is. Now that MS has retired from Intl cricket, CSK brings in a lot more emotion for me. Continuing my tradition, I will watch all CSK matches wearing the yellow Jersey.

  • CSK, the side with the second most IPL Trophies and highest win percentage. What are some of the major factors which have played their part in this successful journey?

To mention the obvious, Dhoni. The mastermind has used players to their maximum potential. Even players like Shadab Jakati, Mohit Sharma who were not flamboyant talents were used effectively by him. Also, it would be unfair not to mention the CSK owners and Fleming as a coach has been excellent. They have let Dhoni have the final say right from season 1.

  • CSK this season have been hit by a number of setbacks. Amidst everything that they have faced in the past week or so, how do you rate them for the upcoming season?

Considering the UAE conditions, I rate our chances very well. I think Chawla could prove to be a crucial buy; he has been one of the consistent spinners in IPL. Wrist spinners are the new way to go and we have 2 experienced ones in Chawla and Tahir. Remember with only 3 stadiums being used, pitches will wear off and the later half could be low scoring. And with the all-round team that we have, playing on such pitches would be a plus for us.

  • Chinna Thala, how big a miss he is going to be? And who do you think should bat at 3 in his absence?

Raina would be a huge setback for us, not just as a batsman but in the think tank. Rayudu seems to be the only replacement at 3 right now. This could prove to be a blessing in disguise for someone like Ruturaj Gaikwad. He’s been a good performer in domestic and India A seasons. He can open with Watson, but that is if Dhoni decides to go with him of course. Otherwise, Faf could be the other opener.

  • CSK have a plethora of overseas all rounders this season, but can accommodate probably one at a time. Which four foreign players do you think should make it to the XI?

Santner has been in tremendous form in the CPL currently, but with the spin attack we have I see his selection chances difficult. Watson, Tahir, Bravo, Ngidi should start in the first few matches in my opinion. According to form, we can then juggle between Bravo/Curran and Watson/Faf. I hope Ngidi comes good because we do lack a good consistent overseas fast bowler.

  • Which team or teams do you think poses the biggest threat to CSK this season and why?

MI is of course the biggest threat, as they have been over the years. Also KKR; they have a middle order to die for with Morgan, DK & Dre Russ.

The surprise if I could say could be RCB. They look very balanced this year and have a good calm head in Mike Hesson who could bring in a change of fortune for RCB.

  • We all know about the rivalry between two of the most successful IPL sides- MI and CSK, MI being the only team with a superior Head-to-Head record against CSK. How do you feel about the rivalry?

After CSK’s good record, MI adopted a similar strategy like ours to form a core of players who would go on to play for many years. They have had the best all round team in the league and kudos to their owners/management. However, we have seen them struggle particularly on the slower tracks in the UAE back in 2014. I think we will be able to get our sweet revenge from last year.

  • UAE being a venue known to assist spin, how do you rate CSK’s spin attack, which looks relatively stronger when compared to other sides despite Harbhajan pulling out? Do you think their spin attack holds them at a position of advantage? 

CSK will be the happiest with the switch of venues I guess. With Chawla roped in I didn’t see Harbhajan playing much anyway. We have the likes of Santner sitting on the bench so one can understand the spin attack we possess. Jadeja will play a crucial role as well as getting much-needed support from the pitches in UAE.

  • What has been your most favourite CSK moment/moments over the years? 

Out of all the memories, my favorite one is actually not from any of the official matches. But when we returned back in 2018, the practice matches drew in a crowd of about 10,000 people in Chepauk. This is unheard of in any sport. Just speaks volumes of the fandom we possess. The whole season of 2018 was a movie for us fans. Close thrillers, new players winning you every game, and the glory we awaited for 6 years. 

  • Who has been the most valuable player for CSK according to you till date? And who will be their most valuable guy in 2020?

Dhoni. That’s it, that is the answer. The chases, on field tactics, auction masterstrokes, grooming youngsters everything is given the final go by the man.

This year like every year I see a couple of players being our MVPs. But to choose one, Imran Tahir. Even at age 41, his performances are consistent in the CPL. With the pitches in UAE, he will undoubtedly be a crucial player. Maybe, he would shorten his running celebration at 41? Who knows..

  • Where do you see Chennai finishing this season? Will they lift their fourth title and be the undisputed kings?

Don’t these other 7 teams compete with each other to play CSK in the finals? Haha jokes apart, I expect a playoffs berth at the least. And as the season progresses, the pitches will wear off and that might turn into an advantage for someone like CSK. 

Well being one of the last few seasons for Dhoni, I hope we can give him a fitting end to a glamorous career.