Chennai Super Kings will look different this year. A predominantly Indian top order with Vijay, Raina, Badrinath, Dhoni has been shaken a little. Indeed, the Indian component has moved to the bottom of the order and they will have to make do with a largely Indian bowling line-up. If the Indian seamers can deliver, Dhoni can take an awesome top order into the IPL and can well play with this side:
McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Raina, du Plessis, Dhoni, Bravo, Jadeja, Ashwin, Pandey, Mohit Sharma, Nehra.
That is five Indian bowlers with fairly strong back up from Raina and Bravo. If however CSK want an overseas quick, like Hilfenhaus or Matt Henry, they will have to choose two of McCullum, Smith and du Plessis. If they get slow tracks they could even throw in Samuel Badree.
Clearly they will need an Indian back up batsman and they can only choose between Mithun Manhas and Baba Aparajith and that I suspect, takes away a degree of freedom.
The alternate eleven could be:
McCullum, Smith, Raina, Dhoni, Bravo, Manhas, Jadeja, Ashwin, Hilfenhaus, Pandey, M Sharma.
In keeping with their slow bowling DNA, this still looks like a team at home on slowish tracks with Raina chipping in with valuable overs. But the opposition will look at this team and think they can score runs against them. I suspect they will miss a new ball enforcer like Doug Bollinger who was so good for them and also bowled the death overs which could be a concern this year.
Having said that there are many match winners and CSK can bat most sides out of the tournament. If there is one critical issue to highlight, I would still go with the ability of the Indian seamers to deliver. If they do, it will be difficult to stop CSK.
They only play two games in Chennai this year unless of course they qualify for the play-offs and get another but it will be a strange IPL without a lot of games in the yellow bastion.