Chennai Super Kings chief coach Stephen Fleming has said in a press conference on Monday that it was because of Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s able and willy leadership qualities that his team has won the third Indian Premier League title.
Cricket news: Dhoni has a very strong influence on his players, says Fleming
“It was Dhoni impact. It is very important. Dhoni does have a very strong influence and impact on players. MS’s (Dhoni) belief and confidence in a strong role for a player works for us. He has a strong ability to bring the best out of players. (Ambati) Rayudu is a great example, being in and out of the team,” Fleming said at a press conference.
“It is a great dynamic. It is about using the strength of a remarkable captain, with a strong franchise, with a good game plan.”
CSK completed a fairytale comeback, having served a two-year ban due to match-fixing scandal, and won the IPL for third time, defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets.
Fleming was all praise for the Australian veteran all-rounder Shane Watson, whose brilliant knock of 117 ensured the win in the finals.
“We loved what Shane Watson has done in the past and our discussion was around his future. And we had seen during the Big Bash that his form had returned. We wanted to use him in a different way…Opening the batting and bowling a few overs,” Fleming said.
“We always like players who are multi-talented. And also, Shane has been to Chennai several times playing for Rajasthan. He is an incredible professional. He realised he has got some limitations. He looked after himself and MS looked after him well. In the end we didn’t need his bowling… there is no great illustration of his ability than yesterday,” the former Kiwi captain said.
Watson also thanked the coach, captain and the entire management for keeping faith in him, for keeping him fit and to support him right throughout the tournament.
Fleming also pointed the fact that the change in home base from Chennai to Pune was a difficult choice. Chennai’s home base was shifted from Chepauk to MCA Chidambaram Stadium because of protests across the state regarding the Cauvery river water dispute.
“Most of the plans were to build a team according to Chennai’s conditions but those things weren’t in our control. Moving out of Chennai was a difficult decision. We knew the conditions of Pune. We had to change the way we had to play the game. The experience enabled us to do that. It was a big change but we had to get on with it,” Fleming said.
The coach pointed out the fact that the win was totally a team effort rather than an individual’s contributions. “It wasn’t one or two players dominating. It was a squad effort. We went back to players who are loyal. We stick together through thick and thin,” he said.
When asked about the option of picking leg-spinner Karn Sharma in place of experienced Harbhajan Singh for the final game, Fleming said that the captain wanted a leg spin option.
“If you look at the last few games, Harbhajan hadn’t bowled a lot. The captain wanted another option against right-handers. We had been very open about combination of spinners, not necessarily left-hand, right-hand, who could do well. We wanted another option around the right-handers. It was just an option again.
“The captain wanted a leg-spin option. In fact, Harbhajan and Karn have got great records in finals,” Fleming said.
Fleming also expressed his happiness on how his bowlers, especially pacers Lungi Ngidi and Shardul Thakur, bowled in the death overs.
“I was really happy. The last two overs from Ngidi and Shardul, I was happy because it could have been a lot more. I was comfortable with the way we bowled,” Fleming concluded.