Chennai Super Kings is one of the most decorated teams in the history of the Indian Premier League. But, IPL 2022 is turning into one of the toughest seasons for the Chennai-based side after three consecutive losses and opening batter Ruturaj Gaikwad's loss of form CSK could have big problems.
Chennai Super Kings won the IPL in 2021 and are the defending champions in 2022. Before the beginning of every season, it is assumed that CSK will do well not because people love the franchise but because they have one of the most popular cricketers in MS Dhoni. However, that is not the only reason for this assumption because records back the fact that CSK has remained a dominant force in every season that they have participated in with the exception of IPL 2020. In the 15 seasons of the IPL, Chennai Super Kings have played the final a staggering 9 times and won the title 4 times. This statistic in itself speaks volumes about how the team has performed over the years.
IPL 2022 is different in more ways than one. With the introduction of two new teams namely Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants the tournament has now become a ten-team event. In February, a mega-auction was held where fierce bidding had happened for some of the biggest names in the world and I think this is where the problems started for Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai Super Kings is known to go for players with vast experience over stars in world cricket. This is a formula that has worked for them over the years they won the title with a team which is was often jokingly called "Dad's Army" and yet they won in 2012 as well as 2021. But, now it seems like the scenario has changed. At the auction table earlier this year, CSK went for their tried and tested players like Ambati Rayudu, Robin Uthappa just to name a few. They had retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Moeen Ali.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was the star for them last season as he went on to win the orange cap and many believed that he could be the next big thing in Indian cricket. During the 2021 season, Ruturaj Gaikwad scored 635 runs in 16 matches and became the youngest in the history of the IPL to achieve this milestone.
This year the scenario is completely different as his former opening partner Faf du Plessis scored 633 runs in IPL 2021 is not around. The captain is Ravindra Jadeja and not MS Dhoni which is one of the biggest differences for every member of the side. With that being said, he has Robin Uthappa as his opening partner who is probably towards the end of his IPL career. Uthappa did score a fifty in the first game but it seems as if Ruturaj is still adjusting to the change.
The young right-handed batter is one of the best when it comes to the technique from his generation of cricketers. The problem that Ruturaj is facing seems to be more in his head than his technique. It seems as if he is putting himself in a position where he wants to carry the CSK batting line-up on his shoulders. The burden of expectations after being retained for INR 8 crore is something that may be bothering him.
Ruturaj Gaikwad has scored 2 runs after the completion of 3 games all of which the Chennai Super Kings have lost. Let's talk about how he has been dismissed. In the first game against Kolkata Knight Riders, the right-handed batter was sent back to the pavilion by Umesh Yadav after he edged it and Nitish Rana took a good catch while standing in the slips.
In the next game, CSK was up against Lucknow Super Giants and Robin Uthappa and Ruturaj Gaikwad walked out to bat. Uthappa started hitting the ball beautifully and was quick off the blocks and Lucknow's bowlers. Ruturaj did not have much of the strike and on the third ball of the second over the young batter was involved in confusion with Robin Uthappa. The ball hit Gaikwad's pad and Lucknow Supergiants appealed the umpire did give not out but the ball rolled towards point and Gaikwad wanted to steal a single.
Robin Uthappa denied the single to the youngster and he had to turn back towards the batting end but it was too late as Ravi Bishnoi's direct hit sent Gaikwad packing for 1 run from 4 balls.
In the third game of CSK, they were facing Mayank Agarwal's Punjab Kings. While chasing Ruturaj Gaikwad's horror run continued as he was again dismissed for 1. This time it was Kagiso Rabada who got the better of him as he once again edged the ball straight into the hands of Shikhar Dhawan who was stationed at the slips.
Ruturaj Gaikwad's poor run with the bat and CSK's three consecutive losses seem to go hand in hand. The young batter who was their star last season has failed to reach double figures with the bat. Gaikwad's poor run with the bat has dented his confidence and is and his team have had the worst start ever in their IPL history under new skipper Ravindra Jadeja.
The team management should be having a chat with the youngster and just probably remind him of what he did last season. Otherwise, this season from what it seems is only going to get tougher for the defending champions. They need their top-order to fire because a bowling attack minus their spearhead Deepak Chahar is already exposed. The batters have to do exceptionally well if Chennai want to be alive for the race to playoffs which might begin sooner than they think.