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IPL 2018: Age not a factor for Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming says he has seen that experience and professional players dominate big part of IPL 2018, rubbishing the theory that core of his team is ageing.

cricket Updated: Apr 24, 2018 19:35 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Bangalore
IPL 2018,Chennai Super Kings,Royal Challengers Bangalore
Chennai Super Kings will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2018 on Wednesday.(AP)

During the IPL auctions, earlier this year, Chennai Super Kings had received a lot of flak for picking players who were on the wrong side of their 30s. From skipper MS Dhoni (36), Dwayne Bravo (34), Suresh Raina (31), Ambati Rayudu (32) to Shane Watson (36), the core of the side looked to be ‘old’ as against other franchisees.

However, the age factor has not bothered coach, Stephen Fleming. Instead, the former New Zealand skipper said he’s here to win the tournament and not develop young players. “They’re 35-36. Not 55-56,” Fleming said. “What I have seen over the years is that experience and professional players dominate big part of the IPL. Chris Gayle has made a comeback and is playing really well. Older players, who are still motivated, fit and committed, can provide consistency, which help their teams to make progress at the top of the table moving forward. I am not here to develop young players, but try and win the competition for the franchise.”

READ | IPL 2018: AB de Villiers plays down bowling concerns of Royal Challengers Bangalore

Fleming also played down the issue of tomorrow’s tie being one between the two Indian captains Dhoni and Virat Kohli, saying that apart from a contest between two great captains, there shouldn’t be anything more to that in terms of added pressure.

“It is a special match. Given the proximity between the cities there is lot of interest and emotions. We have always enjoyed battles here. I don’t think tomorrow will be any different. Both teams are very talented. We have managed to get over the line a couple times this season, so we have got a little bit more winning form, but there are quality players in RCB line-up,” Fleming added. “It is always going to be a tough game playing them. We know we have to play very well to put any pressure in the top order. And they have also got good bowlers. Umesh Yadav has been excellent with the new ball.”

What is a happy headache for Fleming and Co is that all his spinners have put up a good show so far. Imran Tahir is also fit and available for selection. “Imran looks fine. He is training today. He is expected to be available for selection tomorrow,” Fleming said. “It is all about getting the balance right. Karan took Tahir’s place because he suffered an injury. Harbhajan singh is an experienced bowler and bowls well at left handers which the off spinners traditionally do with a lot of success. So, we just balance up what we think what type of batting lineup the opposition is looking like and try to pick the combination to give them a tough fight.”

READ | IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore renew rivalry

Asked about Deepak Chahar, who was with Pune for two years, Fleming said he is not new. “He has been developing as a player over the last two years. He has had a very good domestic season, but his skill sets was something we were very impressed with from Day 1. He is also a handy batter. He is a fine cricketer. He swings the ball. He has a lot of variations. He does it at a good pace as well. He is up there 140 to 143. So he is gone really well. He is going to be fine if he maintains consistency, which will come with a bit more experience.”

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 19:10 IST