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CLT20 Staff in Johannesburg

Albie, Faf will be key for CSK

Local boys need to step up in CLT20 in absence of injured Dwayne Bravo

Since the league’s inception in 2008, the Chennai Super Kings have been one of the most consistent teams in the IPL. In fact, they are the only team to have made it to the knockout stage in each edition and to win the IPL and CLT20 in the same year, in 2010.

The fact that their CLT20 victory came in South Africa, would give them immense confidence coming back to the Rainbow Nation for the 2012 season.

“We were here for the 2009 IPL and 2010 CLT20, and the knowledge we gained from those tournaments will come in handy for us this time around,” CSK coach Stephen Fleming said.

Another advantage that CSK have is that two of their key overseas players – Albie Morkel and Faf du Plessis – happen to be the local boys. In the absence of the injured Dwayne Bravo, Morkel will take bigger responsibility. As an all-rounder, du Plessis, who has been their second choice opener after Michael Hussey, will find a regular place either in the top or the middle order.

“We’ve been grooming Faf for the opener’s role since quite some time and he has the required skill set for the role. But Mike (Hussey) has been very good for us in that role and that means, Faf hasn’t had too many opportunities. But now that a place has opened up, Faf has an opportunity at the top or middle order, depending on the combination we end up with,” Fleming said,

While Morkel has remained a key cog in CSK’s scheme of things, the all-rounder has been a rather inconsistent presence in the South African team. Fleming, who has played a vital role in building CSK’s team, believes it has a lot to do with the security and clarity of role.

“He’s probably clearer about his role in the CSK and comfortable knowing exactly what he needs to do. Repeatedly doing the same thing consistently is his aim and that’s what we’ve been trying to achieve with him at CSK,” Fleming explained.

The predefined role allotted to the players who have formed a core group of CSK over the years has brought about the settled nature of the team and aided them in being as consistent as they have been.

“We don’t see each other for the whole year and when we come together and we’re in the team rhythm right away,” Michael Hussey noted, before citing strength of character as the team’s biggest asset.

“The best thing about CSK is that even if we’re not doing too well, we somehow find a way to scrape our way through and manage to win when it matters. In the last IPL we battled right through the tournament but managed to find a way into the final and won it. That shows there’s a very good character in our team.”

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