IPL 2018: Age is just Number for CSK, says Head Coach Stephen Fleming

Bengaluru contest not just MS Dhoni versus Virat Kohli, but all about emotions, says Fleming.

Chennai will play Bangalore on Wednesday | IANS

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has received a lot of criticism for picking over age players during the IPL Auction 2018, as their core side has all players above 30 likes of Captain MS Dhoni (36), Dwayne Bravo (34), Suresh Raina (31), Ambati Rayudu (32) and Shane Watson (36) in their line-up.

However, CSK head coach Stephen Fleming has rubbished all talks concerning his team's average age, saying the experienced players are always dominating a big part of the lucrative T20 league, as well as, insisted he is here to win the IPL title for the franchise not developing youngsters here.

As per reports in Hindustan Times, Fleming told reporters on the eve of their next IPL game in Bangalore, “They’re 35-36. Not 55-56. What I have seen over the years is that experience and professional players dominate a 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.”

On Wednesday (25 April), CSK will lock horns against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the marquee IPL 2018 clash at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, and many termed it as Dhoni vs Virat Kohli encounter but Fleming played it down, saying it is all about added pressure and emotions.

Former New Zealand captain further added on the same, “It is a special match. Given the proximity between the cities, there is a 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. 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.”

The CSK coach also confirmed that Imran Tahir is fit and will available for selection, “Imran looks fine. He is training today. He is expected to be available for selection tomorrow.”

On Team balance, 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.”

He also lavished praise on Deepak Chahar, who previously played under Fleming for Rising Pune Supergiant for two years, saying the youngster has been developing as a player over the last two years.

Fleming signed off, “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.”


By Rashmi Nanda - 25 Apr, 2018

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