Kolkata, May 2 (IANS) Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming feels the older guys in his ranks have shown that they still have a lot to give to the Indian Premier League (IPL) and it is their presence in the dressing room that brings about a calmness to the side.
Table toppers after eight matches with six wins and just two losses, CSK have so far rode virtuoso performances from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo — all on the wrong side of their 30s — to prove the pre-tournament idea that they are a team full of ‘oldies’ wrong.
“Age isn’t really a barrier. Watson is a good example, very professional with what he does and prepares himself well. He’s playing extremely well, Bravo is another one, MS Dhoni is not a bad one either. I still think the big guys still have a lot to give. The calmness around the group plays a big part,” Fleming told reporters on the eve of their game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Dhoni has looked like his old self with a match-winning 79 not out against Kings XI Punjab while also smashing a 22-ball 51 in their last outing versus Delhi Daredevils.
Bravo helped CSK pull off a heist in the IPL opener against Mumbai Indians with a whirlwind 30-ball 68. The West Indian all-rounder has been good with the ball as well in some matches.
Watson has given CSK brisk starts while opening the batting, his 106 against Rajasthan Royals being the standout performance.
CSK have also been largely grateful to Ambati Rayudu who is the season’s highest run-getter so far. Rayudu has opened the innings at times while also batting at No.4. Fleming lavished praise on the 32-year-old, adding that his role was clearly defined to him at the start of their campaign.
“He has been massive for us. We did pick him with that role in mind, that there might be a little bit of shuffling.
“And he has done that before. So the way he was picked at Mumbai and the way he plays interests me a lot. The way he has performed this year, he has been fantastic for us. There are only two spots really, two or four.
“And he has been given a very clear role right from the start. So depending on the combination we play, he knows what type of game to play.”
CSK’s bowling has not been that good as compared to their batting. While the former champions have piled up big totals, their bowling unit have leaked a lot of runs.
“We are playing high scoring games. It’s got to do with conditions, bad bowling under pressure, and great batsmanship,” Fleming said when quizzed if that is a concern.
“If you lose three-four games, you are down in the bottom, we know that but its keeping us on the edge and making us uncomfortable about each game which is a good thing from a coach’s point of view,” he added.
Fleming said KKR’s spinners are the key and they will have to be careful against the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine.
“The spinners are the key weapon for KKR, there is no secret around that. (So we have to) find a way through that. At some point we have to take a risk so just trying to find a way to do that (is the key).”
On young South African pacer Lungi Ngidi, who made his IPL debut against Delhi in the previous game, Fleming said: “we have been excited about him for a while. We were saddened with the loss of his father. But he has come back to the group now and his performance was fantastic. His contribution to the group has been great.
“He is a young talent and is a massive presence. Conditions like the new Kolkata pitch, it would be exciting to see him go.”
KKR are fourth on the table with four wins and four losses, having eight points.