Why CSK aren’t the best IPL team?

The world of sport pretty much always deals in superlatives: greatest, biggest, most, and best are the primarily used of the lot. Some examples of the use of these superlatives are: They are one of the ‘best teams’, they’re one of the ‘greatest clubs’ and, for individuals, he’s one of the ‘best players/batsmen/bowlers’. These superlatives stem from experts and ex-players, whose choice of words is taken on board by the fans, and start being used loosely.

This is how the theory that ‘Chennai Super Kings are the best IPL team’ came about and, for starters, it’s an absolutely false theory with absolutely no substance to it.

Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals have featured in only eight editions of the Indian Premier League, compared to the other six franchises. So, the Chennai-based franchise and their achievements should only be considered for the eight-year period and not for the entire length of the IPL, which will in April enter its 11th year.

Read: Who has the strongest IPL 11 squad?

Now, to be considered the ‘best’, your achievements must be greater than anyone else’s. And, in the event that a team’s achievements are on par with their opponent(s), calling them as ‘one of the best’ does not make sense. And such a description of a team, needless to say, is a travesty.

From 2008 to 2015, CSK won two IPL titles (2010, 2011), the same number as Kolkata Knight Riders (2012, 2014) and Mumbai Indians (2013, 2015), establishing this T20 cricket league, which has been won by six different franchises, as the most competitive. So, no way are Super Kings eligible to be called the ‘best’ or the most successful IPL franchise; the joint-most successful IPL team? Maybe.

Another theory within this theory that ‘CSK is the best team in IPL’ is because they have reached the knockout, playoff stage of every season. Maybe everyone should be reminded that trophies and titles aren’t given to those who make the playoffs and choke there, thereby being forced to settle for the next best. Success in sport is based on the trophies won and not on the number of semi-finals and finals a team have reached. Losing in the semi-finals, finals or at any knockout stage is a deficiency that none with high ambitions should be proud of. Chennai, despite having been part of the most IPL finals (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015), have only two titles to show for their consistency.

And… the last of the theories within the theory: CSK are the most followed/popular IPL team or, in other words, CSK have the most fans. This is arguably the biggest misconception and none of us can say with certainty if the franchise from Chennai are indeed the most-supported, most-loved IPL team. You can refer to the Facebook fan maps that get shown while the matches are being played, the Twitter battles displayed on your TV screens and every such example.

But social media is on its own deceiving and, in this case, they (social media channels) are not the right barometer to measure the popularity or the level of support for CSK or any other IPL franchise.

The simple reason being anybody can like a franchise’s Facebook page and/or follow their Twitter handle. And, the number of likes and followers is not justifiably proportional to the number of fans a franchise have and their popularity as such. So, even though in numerical terms Chennai have a supposedly smaller fan base (this franchise’s Facebook page has 11,813,284 likes) than say Mumbai Indians (12,777,451 likes), they may not necessarily be less-supported than the best IPL team at this point and also the other way round too.

Essentially, Chennai Super Kings have been a good, quality IPL side who have thrilled cricket fans all around the world. And kudos should go to everyone associated with this south Indian franchise. But the theories that you’ve been exposed to and you have taken on board are just plainly untrue.


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