Fleming: Dhoni to bat at No. 4 for CSK

The Chennai Super Kings' head-coach stated the team's batting order was in place with players being identified for each slot.

Fleming: "Dhoni batted pretty much No. 4 last year but we do use him in a little bit of flexible role, so that won’t change."   -  vivek bendre

The success of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League can be largely attributed to the fact that the franchise retained its core team, leading to the creation of a well-oiled unit with the players backing one another.

The franchise’s head coach Stephen Fleming concurred with the above attributes of the team and said the challenge is to win the cup again and the coach was confident that CSK has the firepower to do an encore.

IPL 2019: Full coverage

“Our challenge is to win the Cup again. It’s difficult, takes a lot of things to work for you. We’ve come back and rebased ourselves on what we need to do to stay comfortable and what we need to do from a skill point of view to compete with seven other very good sides.

“We openly have said we prefer experienced players because they identify big moments and last year they won them. That’s our challenge again. We back our people, so there’s not a lot of change in our side and we work hard on our relationships and one-on-one coaching rather than re-buy a team every year,” Fleming said, on the sidelines of launching CSK’s licensed fan merchandise.

Batting order

Fleming said the batting order of CSK is sorted with players identified for all slots. “Dhoni batted pretty much No. 4 last year but we do use him in a little bit of flexible role, so that won’t change. His form has been outstanding in the last 10 months.

"So, we won’t be getting tricky because we have Kedar Jadhav as well, which is great. So, we’re really happy with the batting order and the thoughts around that,” he explained.

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The former New Zealand captain said the title triumph last year was a little different from the previous wins as it had come off a collective performance. “We’re just big on team culture and empowering the players to make decisions and win big moments. And last year was a snapshot of that. Even though (Kedar) Jadhav was only with us for one game, he played a huge part in winning that game with Bravo. And Faf du Plessis and (Shane) Watson contributed at the end along with the usual suspects of (MS) Dhoni and (Suresh) Raina. So, it was a collective performance last year – it was a little bit different to the past years when two or three players dominated. We had a collective approach and performance and it was incredibly rewarding. I’m not saying it’s the only way to win but it was a real thrill last year the way we played,” he said.

Spin & pace

Playing in Chennai means the team’s spin contingent has to be on the money and Fleming said he was happy the way the bowling department has shaped up. “Mitch (Santner) has got a great record in the subcontinent, which is good to have him. We backed our pace bowlers last year and they made the adjustment to Pune extremely well. Chennai still has a role for the pace bowlers; we’re conscious of a good balance. Imran Tahir is in good form, Karn Sharma and Harbhajan with his experience – we’ve got most of the bases covered and it’s just about getting the guys to perform and sitting on our gameplan, especially at home and away games as well,” he said.

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Talking about fielding, Fleming said while the Yo-Yo Test has never made its entry into CSK, he is happy with the way the fielding standards are in the team. “The Yo-Yo Test has never been part of CSK’s fitness programme. We have enough ways to keep the guys up to speed and the way we wanted them to play. There are certain expectations of fitness which will be met. We have a world-class physio and a trainer with us. We don’t spend time policing them because we have other things prioritised. We ensure the players are 100 per cent, mentally and physically. We have only two months, whereas the national team deals with the players the rest of the year. However, I expect the players to do their work so that they can meet the standard set by the Indian team. And I don’t want CSK players to be labelled as underperformers in fitness,” he stated.