Chennai Super Kings or CSK have been the most consistent team in the history of IPL. They have played nine seasons and made it to the playoffs every single time. Out of the nine times in playoffs, they have reached IPL finals six times. And they have won the IPL titles three times.
They are the defending champions in IPL 2019 and look good to retain the title. They are the only team in IPL to have successfully retained their title in 2011.
So, what makes CSK the most consistent team in IPL?
Core team intact since the first season
CSK have done smart purchases since the first season in IPL. They have made sure they have invested in players for the long term and not discarded them after just one poor season or two. Hence, they have players such as MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and few others who have played the majority of their IPL career with Chennai Super Kings.
Raina is synonymous with CSK. In fact, he missed his first game for CSK in IPL 2018 due to a calf injury after 158 matches across IPL and CLT20. And those who found success with CSK could never replicate the same form with other franchises.
For example, Murali Vijay was instrumental in CSK winning the IPL 2011 final, scoring a match-winning 95. But he never got settled with any other team since leaving CSK.
A competent leader in MS Dhoni
Dhoni has been the only captain for CSK since the first season. And he has led ably throughout the nine seasons has was part of the squad as captain. His cool and calm approach rub on his teammates. Even when they lose a final, their shoulders never drop and Dhoni motivate them to do better next season.
After CSK lost the 2008 IPL final against Rajasthan Royals, MS Dhoni went into a huddle with his teammates and congratulated them for ending runners-up and inspired them for a better show in the next season.
And in 2010, they won their maiden IPL title beating Mumbai Indians in the final. Over the past 11 seasons, Dhoni has become the joint most successful skipper in IPL, winning three titles, along with Rohit Sharma of Mumbai Indians.
Unearthing a bowler/batsman every season
CSK’s success has been a lot due to unearthing a bowling or batting talent every season. They have luckily found a match-winner in a bowler every season. From the likes of Ashish Nehra, Doug Bollinger, Dirk Nannes, Deepak Chahar to Lungi Ngidi, CSK have been served well with these set of pace bowlers over the past 11 seasons. And surprisingly, these bowlers never come up with same match-winning performances for other franchises or teams. It’s the CSK that brings out the best in them.
In batting, CSK have found match-winners in Mathew Hayden, Michael Hussey who were instrumental in the team winning the two titles in 2010 and 2011. And they found another match-winner in Ambati Rayudu in 2018 IPL. Rayudu made it to national squad again due to his performances in IPL 2018.
They have focussed on experience always
During the IPL auction last season, CSK was trolled for investing in most players above the age of 30. Their captain MSD too was in the wrong side of 30. CSK were trolled that they looked more like an old age home than a cricket team.
But MSD’s smart leadership brought out the best of the old legs and they went on to win their third IPL title after serving two years in isolation due to spot-fixing ban.
Dwayne Bravo said that Dhoni told them to play smart cricket as they would not be able to compete with young legs. And it was experience that took them all the way last season. And they look good for more.
Team bonding, efficient management, and competence
A successful team is more about how it bonds on and off the field. How his management treats them, and how their staff takes the team together. And CSK have great examples to show in this respect.
They have a shrewd coach in former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming who forms a great pair with captain MSD. Dhoni is widely respected for his achievements and hence, players look up to him as the anchor and role model.
CSK players bond extremely well both on and off the field and a lot of credit goes to skipper, coach and the staff.
Even the owners do not intefere much and have given CSK full freedom to play the way they want and think they can achieve success. And CSK have reposed the faith almost every season.