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There is certainly no doubt about the fact that MS Dhoni is one of the finest captains to ever grace the game. His leadership qualities have been a class apart over the years and it has also helped India and Chennai Super Kings immensely. The yellow brigade has already won 3 championships under the captaincy of MS Dhoni. Against the Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni was at his sublime best as he remained unbeaten on 75 of just deliveries, an innings which was studded with 4 fours and 4 sixes.
Courtesy his exceptional knock MS Dhoni received plaudits from none other than the head coach of CSK, Stephen Fleming. The former Kiwis skipper who has been part of the Chennai Super Kings set-up from the 2008- first as a player and now as a head feels that MS Dhoni hasn’t changed too many since the inaugural season of the tournament. The southpaw is of the opinion that the Indian wicket-keeper batsman has remained the same in 12 years and still continues to guide his side to glory.
“He has been pretty much the same since 2008. I thought his last innings was one of the good ones,” Fleming said after CSK’s triumph over Rajasthan Royals in the previous match. “I have seen a lot from him, but his individual composure and skill at the end of the innings helped win the game (against Rajasthan Royals) and it was the dominating factor between the two teams.”
The former Kiwis skipper further lauded MSD for his exceptional leadership qualities and for having the calming influence on any team he is part of. After returning to the competition after suspension of a couple of years, it was Chennai Super Kings who managed to win their 3rd title after defeating Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final of the tournament.
“His calm presence and his influence over the team has been consistent through the years. It has been talked about a lot, but it has a big effect when the players turn up and know that he’s going to be consistent, rather than up and down depending on form or life. He has been constant right through the 12 years that I have been involved as coach,” he added.
Since the early seasons, Chennai Super Kings, unlike other franchises, likes retaining their core bunch of players. Even this year, the yellow jersey has gone with a more or less same squad this time around. They have already won 3 out of their 3 matches played in the tournament so far and look well set to win their 4th title.
“It’s been a good start, But I would not say [any of the wins were] dominating performances. It’s been good hard-fought wins, especially the last game; I am very pleased with it,” Fleming said.
“A lot of things were going against both teams, just looking at the pitch conditions and also the moisture. I thought we handled that pretty well, the way we got out of trouble in the last game on the home turf. It was pleasing from the coach’s point of view. By no means, we are anywhere near where we want to be, but we are winning some key moments with some experienced players standing up which is a good sign,” the 46-year-old continued.
Fleming further described the benefits of having a more or less same team for the 2nd time in succession. “One of the benefits of maintaining the same side with little turnover is that you can start the season [a] little bit ahead of other teams, who have a big turnover of players. So we turned up with very much the same team that played the final [last year] apart from one or two [injured players]. If you are changing only one player, roughly again, it doesn’t have a major impact.”
Chennai Super Kings faces the Mumbai Indians later today and like always it is expected to be a humdinger. The rivalry between the two teams is pretty special. Mumbai Indians have always come up with impressive performances against CSK and it shouldn’t be any different this time around.