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IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings ‘nervous’ on return - Stephen Fleming

Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming has admitted that the two-time Indian Premier League champions are a bit nervous heading into the clash against Mumbai Indians.

cricket Updated: Apr 06, 2018 22:14 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
IPL 2018,Indian Premier League 2018,Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings will be determined to make a mark in the 2018 Indian Premier League as they return to the tournament after two years in the opening game Mumbai Indians.(PTI)

Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming admitted to nerves as the two-time Indian Premier League champions prepare to make a return to the tournament after two years in the opening game Mumbai Indians.

“I think we’ve prepared well. Players want to get into it and we’ve had the best part of 12 days leading into the competition so the feeling is one of we’re ready to play. We’ve trained hard in the nets and in the practice games. There’s still the element of getting into the tournament and getting the team selections right,” Fleming said on the eve of the IPL opener at the Wankhede Stadium.

Fleming was categorical that the players will be carrying any scars of the betting scandal that resulted in Chennai Super Kings missing out on two years of the IPL due to suspension. “It doesn’t have an influence on the players. Players didn’t do anything to be scarred from,” the former New Zealand captain said.

The interest around the IPL opener is all the more because Chennai Super Kings are pitted against rivals Mumbai Indians. The matches between the two have always produced exciting cricket.

“(It’s a) Great rivalry and this is what the competition needs. We couldn’t ask for a better game to start with. A game of this intensity at this ground is always a thrill. So the players are excited about it. Just as we are hard to beat at Chennai and that’s an aspect of successful teams, they defend their home patch well,” Fleming said.

Looking at the team combination, CSK have gone for experienced hands. Asked about having older players and their spin-heavy attack, Fleming defended their picks.

“The notion that we bought an old side on day one of the auction was right. Day two was filled with a lot of young players. I value experience. If the professional player is in shape and performing well, I think they’re a valuable asset,” Fleming said.

Fleming added that although youngsters shine, experienced players are vital for the success of the team. “Not often do you see young players come out and see make a mark. People talk a lot about it but very rarely do young players shoot the lights out. I’m not sure when a young player came out and was the top run-scorer. Rashid Khan – you get some exceptions, Washington Sundar, but there’s only a handful whereas experienced players play major parts in the whole tournament so that’s why I value experience,” Fleming said.

First Published: Apr 06, 2018 22:12 IST