As has been their want, the Chennai Super Kings are sitting pretty in the top-two of the table, with eight wins from 10 matches. As they begin their last leg of the league phase with a home game against Royal Challenges Bangalore in Ranchi, CSK face a few personnel changes.
With Dwayne Bravo being sidelined due to shoulder injury, new recruit David Hussey is instantly in the fray for a role in the middle order. And with Brendon McCullum certain to fly back to New Zealand for the birth of his child, there will be another gap to fill.
CSK coach, Stephen Fleming said ahead of the RCB game that they will use this opportunity to experiment a bit with the individual roles in the side.
“David will fit into the middle order,” Fleming said, citing McCullum’s impending departure. “Faf has experience in opening the batting, and our main option is to move Faf up in the order and make David play in the middle order, where he is accustomed to playing.
“We’ve got a couple of games before Brendon flies back home and we’ll juggle the players depending on their fitness – Faf looked a bit ginger in the last game.”
David Hussey had told IPLT20.com that his recent association with CSK came about with a call from Fleming while he was commentating in the tournament. Describing his preference for the junior Hussey, Fleming said, “With the certain opening in the absence of Dwayne and Brendon, we were attracted to David.
“I’ve played some cricket with him and he’s an excellent cricketer. His experience will help. He has played a lot of T20 cricket, so our middle order will not lose any strength with him in it. We found it a little bit empty this year with Mike not being with us, so David is a good replacement.”
With the tournament approaching its business end, there will be a few niggles here and there. And Fleming said that they are analysing some individual performances and experimenting with a few younger guys to prepare for the impending big games.
“We tried to do some new things in the last match; we introduced a young player (Vijay Shankar) in our XI, which is important as you move forward in the tournament. We’ve experimented with different combinations of spin and pace.
“So, we have some good information that is required as we move forward. This time in the season, the plans are almost set; all you do is make some subtle observations and changes in terms of individual performances. A lot of it comes down to ensuring you have the right team for the right pitch. That, I think, is one of the main challenges for all the coaches,” Fleming said.