CSK coach seeks stranglehold in power-play and death overs
By Shirin Sadikot
Chennai 24 April 2013
After a little fumble in the beginning with two home losses, the Chennai Super Kings have brought their IPL 2013 campaign back on track with three wins on the bounce. Now CSK aim to gain a significant leverage of points as they prepare to take on the inspired Sunrisers Hyderabad at home on Thursday.
“We have been playing well, especially in the last game (chasing down 185 against RR),” said CSK’s coach Stephen Fleming on the eve of the match. “We want to go to the top of the table and we know that by winning this game we will get back there and increase the gap in points between us the other teams.”
While the wins have been coming, there are areas of concern for the Super Kings to address. Fleming admitted that one of them is death bowling.
“Bowling at the death is a very tough skill to master as there are some big hitters batting then who can put even the good balls away. We do want to get better at that and in fact, at our bowling performance on the whole,” he said.
With the pacers going for runs in the final overs, a case arises for off-spinner, R Ashwin, one of CSK’s most consistent performers and disciplined bowlers to bowl an over in the end. Fleming, however, said he would rather prefer the pacers doing their job in the power-play and end overs so that Ashwin can be used as an attacking option.
“Ashwin is the go-to guy for the captain and he’s proven time and time again that he’s the guy to get the breakthrough. I would love him to bowl in the middle and pick wickets so the onus goes on our opening bowlers.
“I think we’ve leaked too many runs in the first six overs consistently over the tournament and so Ashwin has had to come in a bit earlier. But the ideal formula would be for him to come and build after the pacers have got early wickets. That allows Ashwin to attack. If we bring him on to defend the runs, we won’t be able to get as much out of him,” the coach explained.
Another concern for CSK is the lack of runs from Murali Vijay’s bat. But Fleming said the opener is not in bad shape and will be persisted with. “Around the same time in the tournament last year we dropped Vijay as he was not doing too well. But this time he is doing all the right things. It’s just not happening out there in the middle. So, this season we will back him for a while longer. We know that when he comes good, he’s real good,” Fleming said.
Acknowledging the few shortcomings of the team, the CSK coach said the important thing is one department putting their hands up when the other fails. In the end it’s about ending up on the winning side.
“We’ve had games where the bowlers have done well and those where the batsmen have; we haven’t put in a complete performance yet. “There’s always something to be worried about but if we win and get past the line especially in tight games, that’s more important for me. It’s about showing character rather than being in form all the time. It’s too much to ask off your team to be at its best in every game. If we do enough to win games and get through to the final, that will be great,” Fleming said.