It has not been an Indian Premier League season to remember so far for Chennai Super Kings. The three-time champions and perennial playoff contenders CSK are languishing in the bottom half of the table with just 2 wins from 7 matches and look like they are set to miss out on an IPL playoff berth for the first time in their history.
One of the major problems plaguing CSK this season has been their batting. In the absence of Suresh Raina, the middle-order has looked unstable with players unable to maintain the flow of runs during a run-chase. CSK head coach Stephen Fleming talked about the problems that the franchise has been facing this season. He also demanded more intensity from his “ageing” team’s batsmen as he grappled for answers to explain what has so far been a disastrous IPL campaign this season.
Led by a 39-year-old Mahendra Singh Dhoni, CSK players’ average age is a little over 30 and the team is often referred to as the league’s ‘Dad’s Army’.
“If we don’t get a good start at the top with our two overseas players, we’re falling into a hole. So we’re looking for positive solutions. What I’d like is a little bit more intensity through the middle overs,” Fleming said in the post-match press conference.
“We’ve got plenty of batting, and while we’re recovering pretty well, we are just ending up with too much to do at the back. So, trying to release the shackles and just allow the hitters towards the end a little bit more freedom,” he added. Asked if it was the most challenging period of his tenure and whether the side had a chance of making the play-offs, Fleming said “it’s getting further away if we keep playing like this.”
“If you look at a couple of other factors, this one is an ageing team. Also, the conditions…the spinners at this stage are playing a small role but still not playing the substantial role we are used to.
“We are looking for ways to compete and change the style of play, given we have been so consistent with our selections. We are certainly scrapping…trying to find a way, it is a bit foreign and the results are showing,” Fleming admitted.
He harped on more intent after the batsmen appeared to struggle against the disciplined RCB bowling.
“The other point is we’ve chased every game and the wickets are getting slower. It’s not easy, once you lose wickets… But I’d love to see more intent. It’s not that you can just keep swinging. There is some challenging bowling but intent is what we’re after,” Fleming said.
(with PTI inputs)