I see this season going to be very different tactically. With no real home ground advantage here, we’ve got to be very good at adapting to the conditions in each ground,” Chennai Super Kings Head coach Stephen Fleming said ahead of the Dream11 2020 Indian Premier League season which begins in the UAE on Saturday (Sept 19).
The Lions, who are based in Dubai, meet main rivals Mumbai Indians in the season opener in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. CSK narrowly missed out on retaining the crown last season when they finished runners-up to Mumbai Indians after going down by one run in the final.
“It’s one of the challenges of having to travel to Abu Dhabi, we’ve got to have to be very good on the day to have to assess the wicket and pick the right combination,” the Kiwi told CSK website in an interview on Friday (Sept 18).
“One of the big challenges for IPL teams is to get the combinations right,” he added.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) September 18, 2020
CSK vs MI Live : Coach Fleming On MS Dhoni post his international retirement and his preparations for IPL 2020
It has been no different. He’s very fit and mentally he’s been very engaged and determined. In some ways the break can work for the experienced and older players that we have. MS is fresh and ready to go.
CSK vs MI Live : On the season opener against Mumbai Indians:
The first game is always full of anxiety, nerves and excitement, and CSK-MI has added extra excitement and pressure and we enjoy that. We’ve earned the right to play the first game by playing well last year, and given the way the final finished last year, it’s nice to have another crack at MI. They are a very good side and it gives you a good gauge as to how the pre-season has gone and the areas that need improvement. You get a good idea after the first game as to where your team is sitting.
CSK vs MI Live : On the Abu Dhabi wicket:
It’s one of the challenges of having to travel to Abu Dhabi, we’ve got to have to be very good on the day to have to assess the wicket and pick the right combination. One of the big challenges for IPL teams is to get the combinations right. There are a lot of skilful players that make the side, but there are also a lot of skilful players that don’t. Picking the right side for the right conditions is one of the great challenges and we’ve got a good record at that. But I must admit, going to Abu Dhabi without seeing the wicket or assessing the conditions is going to be one of the big challenges to start with.
CSK vs MI Live : Coach Fleming’s message to the fans:
We feel the support. It doesn’t matter where we are, we feel the support. We know that we carry a lot of cricketing hearts with us wherever we go. The pride of performance is due to the history of doing well, but also to repay the fans’ faith. We don’t take it for granted which is why it is very important and a big strength to our side.
CSK vs MI Live : Coach Fleming On the pre-season in Dubai:
It has been different, and that’s been part of the challenge – understanding the unknown. We didn’t get off to a great start, with some positive Covid-19 cases, but I think we dealt with it very well. We were calm around our approach, looked after the players and staff very well, and the rest of the players were calm in the hotel room. There was a bit of anxiety wanting to get out and train. It is what it is, and the players dealt with it very well. On hindsight, the amount of pre-season training that we’ve done up to now, and the extra few days in the room, was probably a blessing.
CSK vs MI Live : Coach Fleming says we have enough experience in the team
We’ve got experienced players, and experienced players identify key times and that’s why they’ve done so well in their careers, that they can turn games, absorb pressure or just sum out the situation. That’s what experience is about and that’s why we value it so highly. And that’s why we’ve been able to get over the line in so many close games because the key player has been one with a lot of experience. And you also mix that with skill. You are conscious of having a skilful side and adding youth when we can and with that get the balance pretty right.
CSK vs MI Live : Coach Fleming says assessing the ground biggest challenge
I see this season going to be very different tactically. With no real home ground advantage here, we’ve got to be very good at adapting to the conditions in each ground. We’ve got three different grounds to assess and each ground has its own character and nuances and we’ve just got to be good enough to pick the right team and get the right game plan to match that. It’s like every game is an away game.