IPL 2023: “He’s not going to be as quick and nimble as he was 15 years ago,” Fleming on CSK skipper Dhoni

Before the IPL 2023 opener, it was reported that Dhoni might miss the fixture due to a knee injury.

MS Dhoni | BCCI/IPLChennai Super Kings (CSK) opened their IPL 2023 campaign with a five-wicket defeat at the hands of Gujarat Titans in Ahmedabad on Friday (March 31).

After the game, CSK head coach Stephen Fleming said expecting MS Dhoni to be as quick as he was at the peak of his career wouldn’t be fair.

While Dhoni led CSK in the tournament opener, it was reported before the match that the skipper might miss the fixture due to a knee injury. However, Fleming clarified that it was just cramps and not a knee injury.

“He was always playing. Not sure where that story came from. He was nursing a sore knee throughout the month of pre-season, but today it was just cramps, it wasn’t the knee,” Fleming said in the post-match press conference.

“He’s not going to be as quick and nimble as he was 15 years ago, but he is still a great leader of the side and, even with the bat, he is still going to play a part. He knows his limitations and he is a valuable player to have on the field. He is a legend, isn’t he?” he added.

Fleming also praised IPL debutant Rajvardhan Hangargekar, who returned with the figures of 3 for 36 in his four overs. Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan and Vijay Shankar were the victims of the young all-rounder.

“There has been some big improvement. His first-class work has been a lot more consistent. There are areas he still needs to work on till you are comfortable. Playing in front of 100 thousand people on your debut is a big ask. He did well, but there were some lapses, which is going to come with a young player. But getting a game and getting some wickets under his belt is huge for him,” Fleming stated.

Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad starred with the bat for CSK, scoring 92 off 50 balls. His knock was studded with 4 fours and 9 sixes.

Lauding Gaikwad’s innings, Gaikwad said: “He’s an outstanding talent that is really untapped. We read them so highly. And when you see him playing like that we think he’s just an absolute class player. He’s got power, and he’s got touch. And only good things will happen to him. And tonight was an exhibition, he was disappointed. He also could have kicked on a little bit and given us that extra 20 runs. But that can happen. But the 90 runs he got were a pleasure to watch.”

Riding on Gaikwad’s knock, CSK posted 178/7 in their allotted 20 overs. In reply, the defending champions rode on Shubman Gill’s 36-ball 63 to overhaul the target with four deliveries to spare.

(The Indian Express Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 01 Apr, 2023

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