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Anand Subramaniam in Ranchi

CSK eager and motivated to perform: Fleming

With fresh IPL auctions next year, current Super Kings squad looks to excel in CLT20 2013

Ranchi is waiting with bated breath to see their local hero walking down the middle. The buzz here not surprisingly is about MS Dhoni and the Chennai Super Kings. The Men in Yellow start their tournament against the Titans on Sunday. More than anything else, it will be an emotional tournament for a group of players who will be playing their last tournament together with fresh IPL auctions due next year.

CSK coach Stephen Fleming wanted to use this as a motivating factor. “We are always motivated. That it could be the last time together as a group, is very important. We have talked about that. We have had some great success over six years, and to finish, I guess that six-year period with a good competition here is very important to the group. We have been very disciplined with what we have done around the camp so far, and we are pretty much looking to get into this last tournament.”

Fleming also stressed on the fact that there was no room for starting slow in the tournament. In the IPL, CSK have had a history of peaking towards the second half of the tournament, but in a shorter tournament like the CLT20, it is important to start well according to the CSK coach. “It is a short tournament, so there is a no time to be a slow starter – which is one of our other challenges. We are often a bit slow at getting started. So we must play well tomorrow to get those points and get into competition. Even with the IPL, you want to start well and get a few points early on and we did that last season. We were very good last season. We need to do the same here, because you don’t get a second chance. We know very well we need to play three-four-five good games of cricket to win this competition. We have done it before. So what we ask is for players to get hot, find form quickly and look after that form. And if we have three or four players who are in great form for the tournament, we will come close to winning – simple as that.”

Fleming also said the team was pepped up, some players were fresh after a break and the vibe in the team was good. “The atmosphere has been great. It is nice to get together and see everybody, catch up with what has been going on, the guys, the way they have been playing and the teams they have been playing for. We have got a lot of players, including our captain, coming back from a break; Mike Hussey has had a period of time out of the game. The only complaint would be the practice we’ve been able to do, and that means we’re probably a bit underdone going into tomorrow. But the guys we’re talking about are proven performers, and it will not take very long for them to get up to speed.”

Fleming also relished being in Dhoni’s home town and said that the captain was relishing his time off cricket and was fresh and raring to go. “I think it is nice that we are in his hometown, he can spend some time at his home. And also the break that he had – he is refreshed, he is energised about the game, he is looking forward to the game on Sunday. He is enjoying having us in his hometown. I had a good trip with him in his car the other day, going past some places he played when he was young, and pointing out a few family spots. I really enjoyed that and it is nice to be able to have such an icon come back to where it started for him and for the team to hopefully play well in his backyard. It’s a real privilege.”

And when asked about MS Dhoni’s traits as a cricketer, Fleming was all praises for the captain. “He is one of the greatest players around. He is without doubt the most important figure in our side, and he leads the way. The other players, who are fine players within their own right, are happy to fall in line and do their own jobs. We are lucky to have him as captain, and it is an honour to have him in the side.”

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