Fleming: 'Rahane's wicket exposes the middle order'

CSK coach Stephen Fleming stressed how crucial is Rahane's wicket early in the innings.

Rajasthan Royals' Ajinkya Rahane during the 2018 IPL season   -  AFP

Familiarity breeds respect in IPL. Stephen Fleming, who is an important figure in the Chennai Super Kings' camp, has seen Ajinkya Rahane from close quarters during their times together last season at Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS). The former New Zealand skipper, highly rated for cricketing acumen and inputs into CSK’s return to winning ways, was asked about the batsman.

Rahane and Fleming are in rival camps in this season of the Indian Premier League and have mutual respect for each other. “He is a fine player and doing a nice job of captaining Rajasthan (Royals). We need to get him out early, because he can be a very good influence at the top of the order.”

The CSK coach added: “He is more attacking than what we prefer, so is dangerous. He batting with some who are aggressive, can be a constant threat through the innings. Removing him means it opens up opportunity to expose the middle order. With him batting, others in the side get a little more freedom. Any time you get the captain early is good.”

Following RPS exit from IPL, Fleming returned to CSK for another season and the player moved to RR and assumed leadership as replacement for Steve Smith.