Stephen Fleming: 'Dhoni, Bravo and Watson have lot to offer'

All three have made major contribution CSK’s six wins out of eight.

Dhoni (left) and Watson (middle) are months shy of being 37, while Bravo is in his 35th year.   -  AFP, B. Jothi Ramalingam and AP

Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming is happy that the pivotal roles played by the veteran trio of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shane Watson and Dwayne Bravo have shut the sceptics, who termed the team as Dad’s Army.

Dhoni and Watson are months shy of being 37, while Bravo is in his 35th year. However, all three have made major contribution CSK’s six wins out of eight.

Dhoni has three half-centuries, while Watson has a century and a half-ton. Bravo has played a blinder at the start and has been often economical with the ball.

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“Age isn’t really a barrier. I still think the big guys still have a lot to give. The calmness around the group plays a big part. Yes, we have some youngsters around, but under pressure, experience counts. There are not many games where you don’t have pressure,” Fleming told reporters on the eve of its return leg fixture against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), here.

CSK has put up 200-plus totals four times this season and Fleming said that it would have been a concern if it was not getting one more than what its opponents were getting.

“That’s the silver lining. It’s keeping us on the edge and making us uncomfortable about each game, which is a good thing from a coach’s point of view. Most times we have put up a fight that matched them. If you lose three-four games, you are down in the bottom, we know that.”

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The biggest gain for CSK has been Ambati Rayudu, who has done well both as an opener and also at No. 4, as he leads the run charts with 370 runs from eight matches.

“It just shows how flexible and how calm he is at the crease. He is having a fantastic season. He has been massive for us,” he said.

Young South African pacer Lungi Ngidi made his presence felt in his debut as he returned with a tidy 1/26. Fleming said that he’s looking forward to relishing the conditions on the seaming Eden Gardens wicket.

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“We have been excited about him for a while. He has a massive presence. Conditions like the new Kolkata pitch, it would be exciting to see him have a go (at KKR).”

Wary of KKR’s spin attack, Fleming said: “There is not much time to relax as a bowling unit. We just got to combat the spinners. The spinners are the key weapon for KKR, there is no secret around that. (So we have to) find a way through that. At some point, we have to take a risk. So, just trying to find a way to do that (is the key).”

Robin Uthappa is yet to score a half-century in eight matches and Fleming said that they’re aware of that. “It makes me worried as it means he is due for a big knock. If we can get him early, it’s good for us, as he is an aggressive player. I have seen a lot of him and he has played well against us. He is one we would like to get early.”