There are a number of similarities between the suspended CSK and the newly risen RPS. The most obvious of these lies in the leadership. MS Dhoni led CSK to nine successive knockout finishes, and did so with varying levels of help from his players. One of CSK’s most potent weapons was Suresh Raina, the leading run-scorer in IPL history. However, this time Raina will be captaining GL. However, for the first time ever that Dhoni and Raina will not be in the same IPL team.
Barring Dhoni and Raina there were no other players who had been with CSK from start to finish, though the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Faf du Plessis, and Albie Morkel, all of whom are a part of RPS, were integral members of the CSK set-up for a number of years. Dhoni will therefore have a few familiar faces in RPS to fall back on.
Looking at the team composition, CSK traditionally had one big hitter and one grafter at the top of the order. The likes of Matthew Hayden and later Brendon McCullum would go all guns blazing, while the likes of Michael Hussey and Dwayne Smith would take their time. Raina was almost always at No. 3 followed by du Plessis. Both these batsmen were capable of playing the long innings or going after the bowling depending on the situation. Mumbai Indians vs Rising Pune Supergiants, IPL 2016 Match 1 at Mumbai: Preview
Then there were the bevy of all-rounders in Dwayne Bravo, Morkel, and Ravindra Jadeja, along with Dhoni himself. The bowling had a couple of spinners in Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja, senior left-arm pacer (Doug Bollinger and later Ashish Nehra), and a couple of right-arm pacers as well.
RPS possible line-up looks rather balanced. Right at the top, RPS have a similar top four. Ajinkya Rahane will play the role of the grafter, while Kevin Pietersen and du Plessis will follow in the middle order. One option is for Dhoni to opt for Steven Smith as well and push du Plessis to open with a license to go after the bowling. That would provide a similar vibe to CSK’s top order.
Then you have the all-rounders in Mitchell Marsh, Morkel, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Baba Aparajith, Ankit Sharma, and Irfan Pathan. Dhoni himself will likely bat at No. 5 or 6 which makes the batting order fairly settled. Dhoni has the spin area taken care of as well; along with his trusted Ravichandran Ashwin is the somewhat unknown quantity Murugan Ashwin. Aparajith and Ankit bowl spin as well. As for the pace bowling, Dhoni will have the services of Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Bhatia, Deepak Chahar, and Jaskaran Singh.
RPS’ likely XI could consist of Rahane, du Plessis, Pietersen, Smith, Marsh, Dhoni, Aparajith, Pathan, Ashwin, Murugan, and Ishant Sharma. This team has a similar feel to CSK, and under Dhoni’s leadership could emulate their illustrious predecessor.
RPS squad for IPL 2016: MS Dhoni (c), Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mitchell Marsh, Ashwin Murugan, Ishant Sharma, Kevin Pietersen, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Ashoke Dinda, Scott Boland, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Adam Zampa, Ishwar Pandey, Deepak Chahar, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Ankit Sharma.