Chennai have a rather settled outfit and believe in consistency in selection. They have a core group of players they built over the years and have relied on them to reap benefits. The history of making it to the playoffs every year is a result of the constant backing they give their set players. That said, here are a few players on the bench the MS Dhoni-led side should use more in the starting XI.
The Tamil Nadu opener, Murali Vijay, has 2587 runs in the Indian T20 League in 103 matches at an average of 26.4 and a strike rate of 122.83. He came back to the Chennai setup in 2016 after a brief stint with Punjab and has been a reliable opener in the early editions of the league. He even has two big hundreds in big matches for Chennai. That said, his chances since returning to the Chennai fold have been few and far between. With Ambati Rayudu no longer that reliable, Chennai might want to give Vijay more games.
The New Zealand all-rounder has played quite a few good cameos and revelled in the role of a holding spinner for Chennai. Having Ravindra Jadeja in the ranks has stopped Chennai from using Santner in too many matches in the Indian T20 League. Santner, though, is a fine T20 spinner and a handy powerplay bowler. A nerveless finisher with the bat too, he can be quite a handful on spinning decks and seaming decks alike. It is perhaps time for Chennai to invest more games on the Kiwi all-rounder.
The 22-year old Maharashtra opener was picked up in the 2019 Indian T20 League auction by Chennai after his exploits in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, where he topped the run charts. However, he remained on the bench right through the season and never got a game. In 28 T20s, Gaikwad has 843 runs at an average of 33.72 and a strike rate of 135.31 with six half-centuries. An enforcer at the top of the order, it is a surprise that Chennai did not give him any game in 2019.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Roger Sedres