IPL 2019: Stephen Fleming Admits MS Dhoni’s Absence Has Left a Void in CSK
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming has made it clear that MS Dhoni’s absence hasn’t gone well with the team in a couple of matches, of the ongoing IPL 2019 edition. On Friday night, CSK faced a 46-run defeat against Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Chepauk Stadium. Thus, they’ve suffered second defeat against Rohit Sharma-led Indians in this season.
For CSK, Dhoni is the leading run scorer with 314 runs in seven innings. It shows how Dhoni has led the batting department apart from his role as a leader.
Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja have missed out the previous game due to illness which subsequently saw Suresh Raina donning the captain’s hat.
“They [Dhoni and Jadeja] both are pretty sick… both unwell, virus and bacteria. A lot of teams are struggling at the moment through that,” said during a press conference in Chennai.
So far, CSK has won eight games to bag 16 points. The yellow brigade is topping the charts in the twelfth edition of the IPL.
Well, Dhoni’s absence was felt dearly when CSK were chasing the target of 156 on a spin-friendly track. But the hosts were folded out on 109 in 17.4 overs.
Murali Vijay, who was playing his first match of the season scored 35-ball 38 with the help of three fours and a six. Moreover, the rest of the batters failed to set an impetus.
For, Indians, Malinga did most of the damage by bagging four wickets. He conceded 37 runs in 3.4 overs. Also, Krunal Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah conceded just 17 runs in their six overs. The duo went on to bag two wickets each.
Fleming on CSK’s experience:
Apart from it, debutant Anukul Roy has bagged wicket of Dhruv Shorey. Fleming has credited bowlers for their resilience and grit on the field. He believes their batsman are capable of winning games in Dhoni’s absence.
“I don’t think so (batsmen insecure in Dhoni’s absence). There’s a comfort when he’s there. He was there (batting) in the last game. The players are good enough and have enough experience to do it themselves,” Fleming remarked.
While bringing the calming influence Dhoni has offered inspired his team to fight back, but due to his unavailability, the team has faltered at the crucial juncture at their fortress where they boast about maintaining the winning percentage of 70 per cent.
“It takes a mammoth effort to lift the team up when you have one of the best players who is unavailable. It’s probably psychological as well. Though we’re good enough to do that… the two games we have played without him, the performances have been well below par from a team perspective as well as an individual perspective,” Fleming added.
Dhoni is a great leader and a player:
Eventually, the below-par show saw Fleming reiterated that Dhoni’s place is hard to fill in. Earlier, Dhoni has missed out the IPL game after nine years when CSK received a six-wicket defeat at the hands of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on April 17. Back then, he had suffered from a back spasm.
“I think you know the answer to that. He is a great leader and a great player. He’s been a constant for us for so many years. You just get into the rhythm while having him there. When you take a leader like that out, there are going to be some holes to fill. It’s not that we’re not trying to fill it. It’s just that the hole is quite big,” Fleming added.
With CSK virtually into the playoffs, they will take on Delhi Capitals (DC) on May 1st.
Tahir Ibn Manzoor
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