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CSK coach credits skipper’s role for his team’s IPL success
By IPL desk
Mumbai 24 March 2012
An important factor behind the Chennai Super Kings’ consistency is their ability to stay focused and grounded despite their tremendous success. Their mentor Stephen Fleming has played a huge role in instilling this virtue. No wonder, the CSK coach’s primary mantra for the team’s success in IPL 2012 is to stay away from complacency.
“We can’t get complacent with the success that we have had,” Fleming told the official CSK website. “The IPL is a very tough tournament and the teams as a whole are very even. There is a fine line between finishing first or indeed missing out on the finals.”
The former New Zealand captain considers himself “lucky to work with an outstanding bunch of athletes who really work hard for the team and each other.”
Describing his role in the team, he said, “For the IPL, I am very much a man manager. Creating the environment for the side to perform is very important and I am lucky to have some great people around me who contribute to the day-to-day running of the side.”
Fleming, who finished his international career as New Zealand’s most successful captain and one of their greatest batsmen, picked the title win in IPL 2010 as his most cherished success with CSK.
“It was great to get over the line and shake off the chokers tag that can be placed around one’s neck after losing some key games,” he said. Fleming believes confidence within the team and the relaxed atmosphere presented by the CSK owners are major reasons why the team has often appeared better than the other franchises in the IPL.
“There is very little that separates each team. It’s the individual form and team confidence that can make all the difference. We also have very understanding owners who allow the team to stay relaxed and enjoy their cricket. We are very settled and this was evident with the amount of players we retained at last year’s auction. We put a lot of emphasis on the team culture and people we have in it,” said the CSK mentor.
Stressing on the importance of a strong bond between the coach and the captain, Fleming eulogised MS Dhoni’s role in leading the team to the peak of success in a fickle format like Twenty20.
“We react well to situations and that is due to having an excellent captain who reads the game well,” he said, adding, “The Coach is important but not as important as the captain. The captain is the most important position and the coach’s role is to support and back him up with good structures and ideas. The coach-captain relationship is vital to provide the leadership for the team.”
While he is thoroughly enjoying his run with the CSK, Fleming has no plans of plunging into full-time coaching just yet. “I am very happy just coaching the Chennai Super Kings. And with a young family at home, it is nice to spend some time with them.”
Kieron Pollard scored a sizzling 70-ball 102 and took one for 16 as West Indies took a 2-1 lead against Australia in the five-match series being played between the two sides. Pollard’s century, the second of his 55-match ODI career, took West Indies to 294 for seven, after which the hosts successfully bowled Australia out for 252, earning a 42-run win.
West Indies got off to a good start after Australia captain Shane Watson won the toss and opted to put bowl. Openers Johnson Charles and Adrian Barath struck a 56-run opening stand in 10 overs that gave the hosts the ideal platform from where they could build a competitive innings total. The Australian bowlers, however, reduced the hosts to 146 for five to negate the good work done by the West Indies openers early on.
It was at this stage that Pollard took charge. The burly Mumbai Indians all-rounder struck a 94-run stand with Delhi Daredevils’ Andre Sammy in just 10.4 overs that took West Indies from 146 for five to 240 for six in just 10.4 overs. Russell made 34 off 32 balls before he was removed by Rajasthan Royals star player Shane Watson in the 47th over.
Pollard, meanwhile, continued unfettered. He smashed three sixes after Sammy’s exit to bring up his first ODI hundred in the West Indies. Pollard hit eight sixes in all in his knock of 102. Australia finally saw the back of the MI sensation in the 50th over when Kolkata Knight Riders’ Brett Lee had Pollard caught by Michael Hussey. Nevertheless, Darren Sammy’s 13-ball 31* blitz pushed the hosts score up to 294 for seven in 50 overs.
The Australian top-order were perhaps too deflated by Pollard’s innings to make a serious attempt at the run chase. The visitors lost half their top-order for 112 in 20.3 overs and had it not been for half-centuries from Kings XI Punjab’s David Hussey (57) and Brett Lee (48-ball 59), they wouldn’t have made it anywhere near their final score of 254 all out. Lee’s innings improved upon his previous best ODI score of 57. For West Indies, Russell and Chennai Super Kings Dwayne Bravo finished with two wickets each while Kemar Roach and Darren Sammy also split four wickets between themselves.
The win means that West Indies cannot lose the series as the third ODI between the two sides was tied. The fifth and final match will be played on March 25.
Brief scores:West Indies 294/7 in 50.0 overs (Kieron Pollard 102, Andre Russell 34, Shane Watson 2/55) beat Australia 252/10 in 46.3 overs (Brett Lee 59, David Hussey 57, Andre Russell 2/34) by 42 runs
Man-of-the-match: Kieron Pollard for his all-round performance; 70-ball 102 and 2-0-16-1