IPL 2018: No Yo-Yo test for Chennai Super Kings

CSK coach Stephen Fleming believes there are roles and skill-sets to concentrate on; he is content with the fitness drills conducted by team trainer Gregory King.

Stephen Fleming: "The Yo-Yo test? No. It’s very much personal fitness here."

The Yo-Yo fitness test, a regular feature in Team India, made its presence felt in the preparations leading up to the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Defending champion Mumbai Indians (MI), Kings XI Punjab and the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore are a few of the franchises that have tested their players through the exercise. But Chennai Super Kings(CSK) - returning to the IPL after a two-year hiatus - with M.S. Dhoni and Stephen Fleming as skipper and coach respectively, is in no mood to implement Yo-Yo in its set-up.

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"The Yo-Yo test? No. It’s very much personal fitness here. We have enough to do to control the players’ fitness. There are professionals who do their job, so that’s not the focus of the side.

"There is other stuff to concentrate on, in terms of the skill-sets and roles. We have Gregory King from South Africa who is an outstanding trainer and the facilities that we use are top draw. We don’t try and up the ante or drop it down," said Fleming, on the sidelines of CSK’s training session here on Monday.

CSK is also renowned for its destructive openers; players like Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith and Michael Hussey have donned the opener’s hat in the previous seasons. However, with less than five days to go for the tournament opener against MI at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, there is still no clarity on the opening combination.

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"We are not sure yet. It depends on the overall condition that we decide on. Faf du Plessis can open, Shane Watson is there, Rayudu (Ambati) can open, Sam Billings can open, Vijay (Murali) can open, Dhruv Shorey, can also open," revealed Fleming, adding, "Some of them may have played in the middle-order, but that doesn’t mean that they can't open. They may be better suited for opening.

"Shorey has been a top-order batsman, Billings has also played in the top-order. One of the keys in this squad is versatility, players who can adapt and play different roles."

Though wrist spinners have been the toast in recent times, Fleming is satisfied to have veteran finger-spinner Harbhajan Singh in the side. "I have always rated him highly. I am excited to have him in the side. The bounce and the top spin he gets suits this ground. He is fit and motivated," said Fleming.

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CSK is yet to name a replacement for New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner, who will miss the tournament due to a knee injury. "Santner is a talented player. He is rated highly by the management. M.S and Ravindra Jadeja were injured at the time when we picked Santner, so we were a bit wary and we were looking at versatile players. Before his injury, he was one of the in-form players. We were looking at three years and not one year, so top quality  players were important. We are not rushing a replacement," he signed off.

Dhoni is expected to bat up the order depending on the match situation. Meanwhile, South Africa skipper Du Plessis, who is currently playing in the fourth Test against Australia in Johannesburg,  is expected to join the squad by Thursday.