MSD excellent reader of the game: Fleming

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.”
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