Mahendra Singh Dhoni has a simple mantra — rely on tried and tested seniors, who have been there and done that. It was visible in the IPL auction as they went for Ben Stokes (Rs 16.25 crore) and Ajinkya Rahane (Rs 50 lakh). Building teams is something he has always left on other franchises. With IPL set to be back in home and away format, CSK will play seven home games at the Chepauk, which won’t exactly be a batter’s paradise. For Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo was a player of immense value and he wanted that replacement. CSK looked at all-rounders, who could hit big between overs 16-20 and exploit the tacky Chennai surface with variations. They initially looked at Jason Holder but went whole hog for the England all-rounder.

Look at CSK’s batting line-up: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu/Ajinkya Rahane, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, Moeen Ali, Ravindra Jadeja. This is a dream T20 batting line-up on any surface with multi-skilled players.

Stokes can both open the batting or bowling on days required and when the big man bids adieu to his favourite canary yellow jersey, Stokes could be the man leading the field.

Chennai Super Kings: Players bought at IPL 2023 auction – Bhagath Varma (INR 20 lakh), Ajay Mandal (INR 20 lakh), Kyle Jamieson (INR 1 crore), Nishant Sindhu (INR 60 lakh), Shaik Rasheed (INR 20 lakh), Ben Stokes (INR 16.25 crore), Ajinkya Rahane (INR 50 lakh)

Players retained –  MS Dhoni (c), Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ambati Rayudu, Subhranshu Senapati, Moeen Ali, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Tushar Deshpande, Mukesh Chowdhary, Matheesha Pathirana, Simarjeet Singh, Deepak Chahar, Prashant Solanki, Maheesh Theekshana.

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