Here is a look at the ideal playing XI for the Chennai Super Kings as the Ravindra Jadeja-led side begins its title defence in 2022.

1. Ruturaj Gaikwad

After earning the Orange Cap in 2021 with 635 runs, Gaikwad was retained for Rs. 6 crore ahead of the auctions. The Maharashtra batter continued his prolific run-scoring in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 259 runs in five matches, including three fifties and struck a staggering four centuries in five matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy for his 603 runs in the tournament.

2. Devon Conway

The New Zealand batter took the world by storm when he struck a double-hundred on Test debut against England at Lord’s. Conway averages 63.91 in the longest format, 75.00 in three ODIs and 50.16 in 20 T20Is that he has played so far. CSK roped in the left-hander for his base price of Rs. 1 crore and will back him to open the innings with Gaikwad.

3. Ambati Rayudu

Rayudu’s most recent outing in competitive cricket was in the Vijay Hazare Trophy 2021-22 where he scored 143 runs in five matches for Andhra. The seasoned campaigner had a lukewarm IPL 2021 with 257 runs at an average of 28.55. However, Rayudu wound the clock during his 27-ball 72 against Mumbai Indians, prompting CSK to rope him back for Rs. 6.75 crore.


FILE PHOTO: Ambati Rayudu had a lukewarm IPL 2021 with 257 runs at an average of 28.55.


4. Robin Uthappa

The 2014 Orange Cap holder made useful contributions when it mattered most in IPL 2021, scoring a match-winning 63 against Delhi Capitals in Qualifier 1 and a 15-ball 31 in the final against KKR to help CSK to its fourth title. This was a much-needed turnaround in Uthappa’s fortunes, as he was coming off a horror 2020 season with Rajasthan Royals, averaging a mere 16.33 over 12 matches.

5. MS Dhoni (c) (wk)

After handing over the reins of the team to Ravindra Jadeja, Dhoni will turn his attention to his own form, which has been poor over the last two seasons. The 40-year-old managed just 314 runs in 2020 and 2021 combined, averaging 20.93 and striking at 112.54. Nevertheless, his acumen, experience and skills behind the stumps will be crucial for the team’s title defence.

6. Moeen Ali

The English all-rounder was a vital cog in CSK’s title-winning 2021 campaign, scoring 357 runs at a healthy strike rate of 137.3 and taking six wickets at a commendable economy rate of 6.35. He followed it up with another brilliant all-round show at the T20 World Cup 2021, scoring a half-century in the semifinal and picking seven wickets at 5.5 runs an over.


FILE PHOTO: Moeen Ali's all-round prowess will be pivotal for Chennai Super Kings going into IPL 2022.


7. Ravindra Jadeja

The newly appointed captain is heading into IPL 2022 in a rich vein of form that included an unbeaten 175 and nine wickets against Sri Lanka in the first Test. He marked his return from injury with two match-winning cameos in the T20I series against the Lankans. In IPL 2021, Jadeja scored 227 runs at a mind-boggling average of 75.66 and picked 13 wickets at 7.06 runs an over.

8. Dwayne Bravo

The franchise bought back the West Indian for Rs. 4.4 crore owing to his skills with the ball in the death overs. Bravo picked nine wickets at 8.86 runs an over at the death in IPL 2021 and scalped 14 wickets overall at 7.81. In the three innings he batted, Bravo played two blinding cameos that helped the side win both those matches.

9. Adam Milne

The Kiwi speedster can rattle any opposition with his pace but is yet to make his mark in the IPL and at the international stage. He has played just nine matches since his IPL debut in 2015 and picked three wickets in four games for Mumbai Indians in 2021. In the fifty-over Ford Trophy, Milne was Central Districts’ second-highest wicket-taker with nine wickets in six matches at 4.83 runs an over.


FILE PHOTO: New Zealand pacer Adam Milne could spearhead the Chennai Super Kings pace attack in IPL 2022.


10. KM Asif

The pacer from Kerala was bought back by the Super Kings for a base price of Rs. 20 lakh after he made his IPL debut with CSK in 2018. Asif has picked four wickets in three matches in the IPL while going at 11.38 runs an over. In SMAT 2021-22, Asif took three wickets in four matches for Kerala at an economy of 8.53.

11. Tushar Deshpande

Deshpande impressed with two four 37 on IPL debut for Delhi Capitals in 2020 and picked three wickets in five matches in that season. While he missed out on any IPL exposure in 2021, the Mumbai pacer had a good run in SMAT 2021-22, picking eight wickets in four matches at seven runs an over and scalped three in two games in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.