The press box here is one with a view. The magnificent Sahyadri Hills loom in the background. For Chennai Super Kings, there are still peaks to be conquered.

And the team’s iconic captain M.S. Dhoni seemed well on his way to surmounting a fitness barrier when he was delivering those massive blows at the nets on Thursday.

His team meets Rajasthan Royals at the quaint MCA Stadium here on Friday night.

And a train-load of over 1000 fans, arriving here from Chennai in the ‘Whistle Podu Express,’ should lift the spirits of the men in yellow in a new home.

There are good chances that the free-stroking southpaw Suresh Raina too would be fit for the game, recovering from a calf strain. He went through the stretching routines without a fuss, appeared confident.


There is grass on the surface. The pitch should offer some bounce apart from lateral movement and the breeze blowing across a largely open stadium might encourage swing. The seamers from both sides could play a role.

CSK has to look at its resources and reshape its bowling that has leaked runs.

Someone like the young K.M. Asif — he is making the batsmen hurry their strokes in the nets — should be given a go.

And left-arm seamer David Willey — he could be handy with his yorkers in the end overs — could come in for Shane Watson. Willey is a big hitter too who can be used at multiple positions.

The manner left-arm spinning all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has been employed so far has puzzled many.

He sent down only two overs against Kolkata Knight Riders and was not used at all with the ball versus Kings XI Punjab.

To make matters more intriguing, he has been surfacing ahead of Dwayne Bravo, who whipped out a brutal match-winning innings against the Mumbai Indians, in the batting order.

There is a belief that the influential Bravo is coming too late. CSK has to figure a way out to use its resources in the best possible manner.

The Ajinkya Rahane-led Rajasthan Royals might have been brushed aside by Kolkata Knight Riders in its last game but is a dangerous adversary with many potential match-winners.

Given his penchant for back-foot strokes, Rahane could relish this pitch. Ben Stokes could find the surface here to his liking, and finally bowl with some venom.

Sanju Samson has been in form. Jos Buttler can blaze away at the bowling.

Left-arm seamer Jaidev Unadkat could pose some searching questions. And offie Krishnappa Gowtham and leggie Shreyas Gopal are efficient spinners.

This game has a lot of possibilities. Will the ‘Whistle Pudu’ army celebrate at the end of it all?