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Former Indian Premier League champions, Chennai Super Kings, are set to stake a claim at the coveted Twenty20 title in the seventh edition of the tournament. Led by MS Dhoni, they will be playing their first match on Friday, April 18, in Abu Dhabi.
At the announcement of a new three-year sponsorship deal with IT services and solutions company, UST Global, the captain interacted with the media ahead of the tournament. Speaking about his team’s campaign, Dhoni said, “There are players who are coming from the Asia Cup in Dhaka, some even New Zealand. The challenge is the ability to adapt and perform quickly.”
Elaborating on these challenges, the CSK skipper said, “Yes, the weather is slightly different when you compare to Mumbai or Chennai or Kolkata. It is hot and humid. But Delhi has very dry heat and this place is similar to that. It will be a challenge. But sports people crib a lot initially. But you don’t get bothered by it once we start to play.”
All the teams have incorporated new personnel in their ranks ahead of the seventh season. Armed with a combination of new faces, and some who have represented the franchise consistently over the years, the Super Kings will be raring to have another go at the trophy.
Speaking about their campaign, Dhoni mentioned, “Consistency at playing well and reaching the semi-finals is our goal firstly. We can’t say we will win because all it takes is one individual to have a good day. The importance is to reach the semi-finals, and you up your game a bit.” “In knockout stages, you play to the best of your potential. That becomes crucial.”
The CSK squad has some of the best T20 players in world, like Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, New Zealand skipper Brendan McCullum, South African batsman Francois ‘Faf’ du Plessis and West Indian opener Dwayne Bravo. Asked whether his current squad is one of the strongest he has seen in CSK history, Dhoni replied, “What you have to see are your fitness issues. And your composition as a side depends on the fitness of the players and their form. You may have to omit someone who is a big player because with him included, the side doesn’t look balanced as compared to somebody else who isn’t as big a player. You have to see all those things.”
“The good thing is, we haven’t had so many changed players since season one. We try to retain as many as possible. And as a team, we lay down what each one’s roles and responsibilities are. And we try to learn as we are making mistakes; we want to keep that low.”
With some of the best in the game being part of the side, managing strong personalities from various cricketing countries also becomes a challenging task for a captain of an IPL side. Dhoni, who is known to be one of the coolest captains in the game, said, "So far, we have been blessed. We have a few players, and most are likeminded people, but yes, it is difficult managing a couple of them.”
“But we want to create an environment that provides a good mental condition to perform. And that will only happen if the players in the dressing room are good with each other,” he added.
The CSK coach Stephen Fleming also expressed his delight to be with the franchise, and said, “One thing I can say is, when the group gets together, it is very easy to do the job at hand.”
SRH pacer wants to regain his limited-overs mojo with IPL 2014
By IPL Staff
Abu Dhabi 12 April 2014
Ishant Sharma, the Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer, is determined to get the new season of limited overs cricket off to a fine start with Pepsi IPL 2014.
Admitting at being disappointed for not getting picked in India’s squad for the World Twenty20, Ishant is now ready to put it behind him and improve as a T20 bowler.
"You feel bad when you are not part of the T20 World Cup," Ishant said. "It is a big tournament. But it is not in my hand. If I am playing Test cricket or wherever I am playing, I have to do well in those conditions and that particular format.
"I am looking forward to do well in the new season. I am bowling well. I am in good rhythm. I played in domestic Twenty20, bowled well, took some wickets. I am confident with my bowling, and hopefully, I will do well for the Sunrisers this time as well."
Ishant was bought back by the Sunrisers in the 2014 Player Auction after he picked 15 wickets from 16 matches in the 2013 IPL season. With Dale Steyn, Ishant formed a formidable fast bowling attack for the Hyderabad franchise.
"Dale gives his plans and we set fields accordingly. That helps a fast bowler. It feels really great. I have learnt a lot from him,” Ishant said, before also giving credit to Darren Sammy.
"When he was not playing in the initial part last year, he was giving ideas to every member of the team," Ishant said of the West Indian. "All these small things help the team do well. When we sit together, it's not that we just laugh. We talk about cricket, about where we should improve."
Since the first leg of the tournament will be played in the UAE, Ishant knows he has his job cut out as he does when bowling on similarly slow Indian wickets. "I think the wicket will be the same," he said. "It does not matter whether you play in India or UAE, the wicket will be the same in Asia. You should know where you need to bowl in the T20 format. You don't need to see how the wicket is going to behave. You just need to execute your plans well."
Ishant also hopes the recent experience of playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament (India’s domestic T20 tournament) will help him hit the ground running in the IPL.
"I bowled well in South Africa and New Zealand and in the North Zone T20 tournament too," he said. "I am looking forward to doing well for Sunrisers in the IPL."