Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming rued the lost opportunity to pick their former net bowler Varun Chakravarthy at the IPL auctions, saying missing out on him “still hurts us”.
Chakravarthy served as CSK’s net bowler for a few years, and during his stint there, he troubled the CSK batters, including skipper MS Dhoni.
Playing his first IPL game at the Chepauk, The Tamil Nadu off-spinner played a vital role in Kolkata Knight Riders’ six-wicket win over CSK on Sunday.
“It still hurts us (missing out on Varun). He tortured us in the nets for several years. Just with the auctions, the way it is, we couldn’t retain him.” Fleming said at the post-match press conference.
Chakravarthy was picked up by Punjab Kings (Kings XI Punjab) for Rs 8.4 crore at the 2019 auction before KKR bought him for Rs 4 crore in 2020 and has retained him since.
“The thing is with Tamil Nadu players all around in different teams, they knew about him as well. We were unable to keep him a secret.
“We were very excited by him as a talent when he bowled against us in the nets. And we would have loved him for a big price this year. He bowled very well today, he’s a weapon.” On Sunday’s loss, Fleming said CSK did not read the conditions correctly.
“I don’t think we got the conditions right, last game turned out to be considerably tough to bat. This one actually had a spongy bounce to start and then pretty much lost a bit of sting as the game went on.
“Pretty difficult to try and work out what the surfaces are going to do with the dew. I said the whole way through, we’re still learning these new conditions,” Fleming added.
CSK returned to playing at home after two years, and the New Zealander said they are still trying to understand the conditions at the Chepauk, which are different from how they were in 2019.
“I stress that it’s not the same as what we left (in 2019). We’ve worked hard to try and understand, we’re still trying to understand.
“So, everything that’s happened in the past is pretty much irrelevant as we get to know it and try to drive it a little bit differently.
“There have been scores well over 200 as well as scores of 145, so there’s been quite a bit of variance,” he added.
Meanwhile, KKR assistant coach Abhishek Nayar hailed Rinku Singh as an ideal package to have in any team.
“Rinku Singh has always been a great player of spin. If you go back and look at his first-class season, domestic cricket in general, Rinku is one name that will come across as one of those three-four people who have been successful over the past two-three seasons,” he said after the match.
“He has always been someone who has done that for UP in domestic cricket in different situations. He knows how to play in these conditions, domestic cricket gives you one of the most challenging pitches. He has been through the grind, I am so happy to see him achieve success like that.” Nayar spoke about how a lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes, resulting in a change in Chakravarthy’s fortunes. “After last season, we discussed quite a bit on what we thought went wrong and also I think when you play season after season, teams tend to target you differently.
“One of the things we tried to do throughout the off-season and throughout the season was to understand the challenges we were going to face. There is a stark difference in terms of how he’s using his deliveries - using the one that goes away a lot more than he was doing last year,” the KKR assistant coach added.
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