The preparations of the IPL for CSK (Chennai Super Kings) were not as planned due to the coronavirus infecting Deepak Chahar, who is a pacer, and also Ruturaj Gaikwad, who is a batsman of the middle-order. This infection resulted in an additional week in quarantine for M.S. Dhoni and Co.
This means, less time for practicing while the other teams were sweating it out. To add to their troubles, seasoned campaigners, Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina also opted out of the tournament citing personal reasons.
On the eve of the IPL opener against MI (Mumbai Indians), the CSK coach, Stephen Fleming, said that the team had taken the set-backs in their stride. As the average age of the team is 31 years old, the additional break o a few days has worked as a blessing for the ‘Daddy’s Army’ of CSK.
He added that though they did not get off at a great start but managed to cope with this very well. This break works for older players who are experienced.
CSK will be facing a stern test on Saturday, 19th of September 2020, in the opening match against MI (Mumbai Indians). CSK had lost the final test of the IPL tournament in 2019 to MI (Mumbai Indians) by only one run. According to Fleming, this math will help them gauge the preparedness of the team for the upcoming matches.
Stephen Fleming also said that the first game was always of nerves, anxiety and a lot of excitement and the match being played by the CSK against MI has only added to the pressure.
For CSK, the exit of Suresh Raina has robbed them of a top-order batsman who is a left-hander and the absence of Harbhajan means they are deprived of a ‘quality’ finger spinner in the team. This is crucial for Powerplay overs. M Vijay, Gaikwad, and Ambati Rayudu are all right-handed and it will be exciting to watch if M.S. Dhoni sends Ravindra Jadeja up the order.
Stephen Fleming did not talk about the composition of the team and only hoped that the experienced players of the team could adapt to the conditions and the pitch quickly.
He added that they were relying more on the experienced players who could identify the key moments, absorb any pressure, and turn the game around. Tactically this season is going to be different as it is necessary to adapt to the different conditions due to no home advantage.
Fleming also mentioned that they had three different grounds and that too, with their own set of conditions. They will have to pick the right teams along with the game plan.
To start with, going to Abu Dhabi without even seeing the wicket is challenging.
Dhoni will be taking the field for the first time after more than a year during the time he announced his retirement. Stephen Fleming said that this 39-year-old was raring to go.