IPL 2018: Fleming banks on experience, no Faf in opener

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming believes experienced names, such as Watson, Harbhajan and skipper Dhoni, will hold the franchise in good stead.

Stephen Fleming (left) discusses a point with M. S. Dhoni in Mumbai on Friday.   -  AFP

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming banked on the experience his side brings to the table ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday.

The yellow army, coming back to the cash-rich league after a two-year suspension, flaunts cricketers who have been a part of the tournament since inception — Dwayne Bravo, Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Murali Vijay and skipper M.S. Dhoni to name a few.

“There is always a plan B (if the selection backfires), I value experience and I always have. If a professional player is in shape and performing well, he is a valuable asset. You don’t see young players come out and make a mark that often. People talk about it but very rarely, a young player has come out and scored the most runs. I am not too sure. Rashid Khan and Washington Sundar are exceptions, there is only a handful. The experienced players play a major part in all tournaments,” he said.

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Fleming added that it also depends on the quality of the player with age and time. “Bravo (Dwayne), Watson (Shane) are competing well. Harbhajan Singh has a good skill-set and M.S. Dhoni is a fine leader. They all look very good.”

South African skipper Faf du Plessis joined the side on Thursday but he will sit out in the first few games. “He won’t play tomorrow. He has got a couple of injuries he had throughout the summer. He needs a little bit of time. It was tough for him but he is positive to play and be fit for the majority of the tournament,” revealed Fleming.

He, however, remained tight-lipped about the opening combination of the squad.

“We had guys coming in last night. Mark Wood and Lungi Ngidi just joined the training. It is still a part of our discussions. These people are all meeting for the first time and the skills are being seen for the first time too. We still have a lot of work to do.”

Fleming welcomed the use of the Decision Review System in the tournament saying it may be a positive change. “If used properly and fast, it may help the game. The pace of play is going to be super quick. Not the 50-50 ones, but if it can get the bad ones right, it is good.”