18.05.2019 Author: C.NAMASIVAYAMThe 12th edition of the IPL ended in a dramatic fashion with Mumbai Indians winning the final against the Chennai Super Kings off the last ball of the tournament by the narrowest of margins of 1 run. From the spectator's point of view, it was one of the most fascinating IPL finals with fortunes fluctuating from one team to the other till the very end. In the end, Mumbai Indians showed their mettle and composure at the crunch moment to win the trophy for a record fourth time.
Dhoni's run out provedLooking back, Dhoni's run out proved to be the turning point of the match. The TV umpire Nigel Llong conveniently forgot the cardinal rule of cricket that benefit of doubt should always go to the batsman.
In this case, at no angle, there was conclusive proof that Dhoni's bat was out of the crease. If that had been the case, the TV umpire would not have taken that much time to arrive at a decision. Perhaps, Dhoni's initial walk towards the pavilion was a giveaway to the third umpire.
Nonetheless, CSK had only themselves to blame. They were comfortably placed at 70 for 1 at the end of 9 overs before the batsmen yet again let the game slip. Dhoni too was not at his best as captain in the final.
First, the Purple Cap holder Imran Tahir was brought into the attack only in the 12th over and could not complete his full quota of overs. Jadeja, who gave away a mere 12 runs in his 2 overs, too was underutilized. The fact that CSK had been playing 6 regular bowlers only in the last two matches of the season put the captain in a bit of conundrum.
Again, when 4 runs were needed off 2 balls, the more experienced Harbhajan should have been sent ahead of Shardul Thakur. The latter's injudicious attempt to sweep the toe-crushing yorker from Malinga had a disastrous effect.
Mumbai have won the IPL trophy 4In the end, Rohit Sharma has once again been lucky as a captain in a match which has gone to the last ball. Mumbai have won the IPL trophy 4 times out of which 2 were by a margin of 1 run.
By winning the final for the record fourth time, Mumbai have now become the most successful IPL team ever. They have now won 4 of the 5 finals that they managed to reach. Ironically, their only loss in the final was against CSK in 2010.
Conversely, CSK's record of 3 wins from 8 final appearances implies the dreaded terminology, "chokers". CSK missed out on a wonderful opportunity this year which could lead to losing their grip on the dominance in IPL over the years. Looking at the current composition of the CSK squad, it will be very difficult for them to replicate their commanding performances in the coming years of IPL.
To start with, the CSK team revolved more around experience than on youth. They have not built a team for the future. In the present squad, youngsters like Dhruv Shorey and KM Asif never got enough opportunities to prove themselves after being part of the squad for the last 2 years.
SK's focus was more on winning matches than on nurturing youngsters as was the case with a team like Rajasthan Royals or Delhi Capitals. Even a like-minded team like Mumbai has invested in youth in the form of Rahul Chahar and Ishan Kishan.
Every season, CSK used to try to qualify for the playoff stages with the minimum number of matches and thereafter their aim was to simply top the table to have two bites of the cherry.
CSK failed to encourage youngstersTo CSK's credit, during the mid-way stages of the tournament, they were never on the verge of elimination in any of the previous editions of the IPL. As a result, they never got the opportunity to try out youngsters in inconsequential matches.
In the past, players like R. Ashwin, Mohit Sharma, Pawan Negi and Ravindra Jadeja benefitted from their tenure with CSK. But, of late, CSK failed to encourage youngsters like Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains and Vijay Shankar.
All these factors might lead to a big void in the CSK team in the future. If at all anything, they have Ravindra Jadeja and around him a team could be built for the future. He is one player who is experienced and at the same time relatively youthful to carry the baton forward.
CSK might go in for youth in future IPL auction but that might not produce the desired results instantaneously. Besides, all along, CSK have been one team which has been associated with the term rigidity in team selection, batting order and strategy.
Many a time, one would find the CSK leadership shy of enforcing the strategic time out while on the field to slow down the momentum of the other team. They don't believe in applying the artificial brake to pull off a triumph.
For a team with such a mindset and tradition, it will be very complex to accept youth for the sake of youth. The transition period would be much longer for a hitherto well-set team like CSK.
The veterans in the team like MS Dhoni, Shane Watson, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu are likely to exit the scene simultaneously.
Compared to other IPL teams, CSK are precariously placed with no set of youngsters around to take the team forward. As such, even with the likes of Dhoni, Raina and Bravo available for the next season, it might still be difficult for the team to reach the playoffs so comfortably as it happened this year and that should lead to CSK losing their grip on IPL dominance gradually.
In future, teams with a fine blend of youth and experience like Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals and KKR have a better chance of competing with Mumbai. To sum up, CSK will never be the same dominant force in IPL in future. With the likely exit of MS Dhoni from IPL in a year, their fan following would diminish. CSK would become a team similar to the mighty West Indies team of the late 80s on the decline.
It might sound harsh on the most-liked IPL team, but reality should catch up with them at some point in time. When it happens, the team will have to pay its price for the dangerous route it has taken in the past by neglecting youth to attain instant glory.
Nevertheless, Dhoni and his yellow brigade have prescribed abundant blissful memories to all CSK fans to last a lifetime.