Experience will be handy for CSK in IPL 2020 - L. Balaji

Senior players won’t find it difficult to get back into action quickly, says Chennai Super Kings bowling coach L. Balaji.

Chennai Super Kings captain M. S. Dhoni with bowling coach L. Balaji during a practice session at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai, on March 02, 2020.   -  K. Pichumani

The presence of many players experienced players - aged more than 30 - is a boon for Chennai Super Kings as the club heads gears up for IPL 2020, the team’s bowling coach L. Balaji said on Wednesday.

M. S. Dhoni, 39, is getting ready to lead the Super Kings in the upcoming edition of IPL which is scheduled to be held in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.

Asked if senior players would find it difficult to get back into action quickly, Balaji responded in the negative. “I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult, because all your life you have played this sport. So many years of understanding will come in handy to get back to your best,” Balaji told PTI.

“Experience will definitely be important. It has been proven in big tournaments like IPL.”

‘Process-backing leader’

Besides Dhoni, the club has in its ranks veterans such as Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo. “Dhoni is someone who believes in following the process, in giving opportunity and exposure instead of changing and chopping,” Balaji said.

“Dhoni is always a process-backing leader. There is no shortcut in his leadership.”

Before leaving for the UAE, the club has planned a short camp here from August 16. “Yes, if everything goes as per plan, August 16th we will start a camp. It will be only for Indian players,” he said.

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Super Kings were the first IPL team to begin practising - on March 2 - for IPL 2020. Originally scheduled to begin in March, the tournament was eventually postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Not easy’

Balaji, a former India fast bowler, said it is not easy to regain peak fitness in any sport straightaway after a break. “It is not easy to hit the 100 per cent mark straightaway in any sport. As we progress with our skills and fitness every week, we will look to improve our strengths in phases. But the good thing is that we had a camp in March and it is going to be a continuation of where we left in that camp,” he added.

Balaji is expected to be in charge of the brief camp here which would see the Indian players in the team including Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Piyush Chawla.

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Meanwhile, eight Tamil Nadu players selected to travel to the UAE as net bowlers underwent COVID-19 tests on Wednesday and will be seen in action during the forthcoming Super Kings camp, sources said.

Among those picked include Aswin Crist, J. Kousik, M. Mohammed, Aushik Srinivas, L. Vignesh and Abhishek Tanwar.

The team is expected to leave for the UAE on August 21.

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