The four chief architects of India's historic 4-0 whitewash of Australia hail from where the IPL's heart lays - the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Murali Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja took life out of the Aussies to script India's most comprehensive Test series win in history, and they form the core of CSK as well. In short, the mini Team India is also known as Chennai Super Kings.
Offspinner Ashwin and left-arm spinner Jadeja combined to take 53 of the 79 Australian wickets to fall in the four-Test series and Vijay stacked up 430 runs - the most in the series - but it was CSK and India skipper Dhoni's impact knock of 224 in Chennai that set the tone for India's dominance.
India's four Test wins in a row were punctuated by telling performances from these CSK rock stars. Ashwin's 29 wickets included four five-fors and one match haul of 12 wickets. Jadeja repaid Dhoni's confidence with the ball, if not the bat. He took 24 wickets, including his maiden five-for, at a better average, economy rate and strike rate than any bowler. Vijay overcame his twin failures in Chennai to contribute inspiring knocks of 167 and 153 and a half-century. Dhoni needed confidence to revive his Test captaincy and it arrived from the meat of his bat with a career-best double-hundred, in total 326 runs from six innings.
Those are the numbers that CSK's opponents will have to deal with in IPl 6. But that's not all that makes the two-time IPL champions the mini Team India. There's more to it.
They have in their ranks India's mainstay in limited-overs cricket, Suresh Raina. In Raina, India have the proven finisher an ODI or Twenty20 teams looks for and he has done the same for CSK over the years in the IPL and CLT20. India's domestic run machine S Badrinath is also a CSK man. Though he has been in and out of the Indian team, Badrinath is just short of a steady run to cement his place in national colours. The same can be said of Wriddhiman Saha, undoubtedly the country's best glovesman and Dhoni's backup as wicketkeeper-batsman for CSK.
Baba Aparajith, part of India's Under-19 World Cup win in Australia last year, also dons the CSK yellow. He is one of the most promising allrounders in the country and plays for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy. Knowing how it feels to wear an India jersey, albeit for the junior team, he knows more than a thing or two about performing under pressure.
Though short by three to make up almost another India XI, these eight men make CSK nothing short of Team India in disguise.
What do you think of CSK's chances in IPL 6?