Chennai Super Kings a formidable side in IPL II

CAPE TOWN - Chennai Super Kings will have plenty of depth and star power in reserve when they take on Mumbai Indians in the opening day’s double-header in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Saturday.

Super Kings lived up to their pre-tournament favourite tag last year as they finished runners-up to Rajasthan Royals in a thrilling final.

The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Super Kings once again look a balanced and formidable side, with a fair sprinkling of domestic and international stars that include some of the world’s best all-rounders.

England’s Andrew Flintoff, who has been bought by the Super Kings for a record IPL pay package of $1.55 million, will add to the list of all-rounders in the team.

Flintoff, however, would be available only for the first two weeks before flying to England for the series against the West Indies.

”With the world’s top all-rounder Andrew Flintoff in our team besides the likes of Albie Morkel, Jacob Oram and Thilan Thushara, we have enough options. So, players leaving and joining us should not really affect the team composition,” says team’s director for cricketing operations, V.B. Chandrasekar.

The batting order looks strong with the likes of Matthew Hayden, Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Dhoni, S. Badrinath, Flintoff, Morkel and Thushara.

Hayden, who hit a pacy 35-ball 65 in the warm-up game, will have a point to prove after his exit from the international arena.

Super Kings will miss one of their star performers Michael Hussey, who is among the top Australian players to skip the tournament and take rest before the packed international schedule.

Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan did not made much of an impact last year and would be looking to cast his magic.

Their pace department will have a problem of plenty with Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Manpreet Gony all doing a fantastic job last year. Morkel and Gony picked up 17 wickets each while Balaji was impressive as he was economical and also notched up the maiden IPL hatrick. Flintoff will add teeth to the attack.

Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who was not successful as an opener in the inaugural season, has been given the coaching job.

Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Palani Amarnath, Srikkanth Anirudha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, George Bailey, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Napoleon Einstein, Stephen Fleming, Andrew Flintoff, Manpreet Gony, Matthew Hayden, Shadab Jakati, Joginder Sharma, Viraj Kadbe, Arun Karthik, Suresh Kumar, Albie Morkel, Abhinav Mukund, Muttiah Muralitharan, Makhaya Ntini, Jacob Oram, Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Thilan Thushara, Sudeep Tyagi, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Murali Vijay, Michael Hussey.

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