After securing a thrilling 1-wicket win in the IPL opener against Mumbai Indians at the iconic Wankhede Stadium, Chennai Super Kings returned to their den and faced the highly-spirited Kolkata Knight Riders side on Tuesday (April 10).
It was Chennai’s first match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium after completing their two-year termination from the cash-rich league and the MS Dhoni-led side didn’t disappoint the local fans. CSK registered a memorable 5-wicket victory by chasing KKR’s mammoth target of 203 with one ball to spare.
Covering the match as a commentator, former New Zealand batsman Scott Styris has said that the Dhoni will certainly enjoy being part of the CSK camp all over again.
CSK along with Rajasthan Royals were barred from the cash-rich Indian Premier League for the past two editions because of the corruption and fixing allegations against their respective owners. Following the suspension of CSK, Dhoni was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant for 1.9 Million USD in 2016, and was named the captain.
“Dhoni will certainly enjoy being back with CSK, not to say he did not enjoy his stint away,. But he enjoys being part of that group and because of that, you will see a pretty happy Dhoni, which is a big part of it. He looks fit, which is even better. And because of that, they still have got the same group, the nucleus that they have which has seen him so powerful over the last 8-10 years, I don't see that changing anytime soon,” Styris said in an exclusive interview with DNA.
The former Black Caps batsman who was part of the CSK dressing room back in 2011 further went on to say that he is delighted to see the return of this great franchise.
“I am delighted to see CSK back. They are one of the major brains of this tournament. It doesn't seem and doesn't feel right when they aren't there. They will add to this tournament that little spark that has been missing the last couple of years. Dhoni is part of that. People don't understand that you buy into the team and brand that you are with, especially if you are there for a few seasons or more. You see that with CSK. All the players believe they are part of that family and enjoy being part of CSK. When that is the case, you get better performances out of them,” he added.
In the ongoing Indian Premier League, there is only one away captain in Kane Williamson. When asked if the Kiwi skipper is spoken in the same breath as Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Joe Root as world’s best batsman, Styris said: “Maybe, the fact that he is from New Zealand as well and maybe we aren't now a major cricketing nation. Of course, we are a major cricketing nation but not one of the Big 3 so to speak, and that is probably why he isn't certainly mentioned in the same breath as those guys (Root, Smith, Kohli).”
“But in New Zealand, he is right there at the top with the other three. His numbers suggest that he should be as well. I guess, as players, past and current, you can't control what the media say about you, if they don't want to put him in the same bracket as Kohli, Smith and Root, and he can't do anything about that. All he can do is go out and play. The numbers he finishes with when he is done with his career is probably untouched from a New Zealand perspective. He is already the all-time No. 1 century maker for New Zealand (18 in Tests). He is such a young man, he will continue to get better and better. A little unfair if he is not mentioned in the same breath as the other three but he should certainly be,” he explained.
After the ball-tampering scandal that rocked the entire cricketing fraternity last month, former Australia coach Darren Lehmann had said that they should follow New Zealand when it comes to playing cricket utmost spirit.
When asked if he also feels that way or has it always been there with New Zealand cricket, Styris said: “Yes, I do. It has been a conscious decision to even take it it up to another level even when Brendon McCullum became captain. And when Kane Williamson has taken over, they have had a real focus on playing the game the right way. That means many things to many different people, but they wanted to play, as the Australians say, the hard contest, but they don't want to the nastiness that they often see. NZ have done that well over the last few seasons.”
“Speaking to the Englishmen during their recent series in New Zealand, I think that they have enjoyed the series perhaps a little more than they did the Ashes (in Australia, 2017-18). It is always tough when you lose 0-4 like they (England) did but I have heard a few stories of what happened in the middle in the Ashes and I think England would prefer to play their cricket like they did against New Zealand versus what they had to put up with when they played against Australia.
"Maybe over the events that they have seen, Australia will change their ways and jump on board with perhaps how the rest of the world wants to play their cricket. I guess we will find out. I would like to think that the players would do the right thing and play the game the right way,” he concluded.