Chennai Super Kings has one of the best home records in the IPL — winning 70% of its games — which gives the team at a distinct advantage going into the season opener on Saturday. But head coach Stephen Fleming said it takes time to assess the conditions — even for the home team — but hopes to start the tournament well.
“Even though it is a home game, it takes a little bit of time to understand the home conditions. There is a real emphasis on starting the tournament well. Last year we won a couple of games that could have easily gone the other way. It did a lot for the team. We know the importance of a good start. There is no extra pressure on the game, it’s just that you want to start the tournament well and get into the rhythm of playing well.”
The team was dealt a huge blow with pacer Lungi Ngidi ruled out of the tournament and the former New Zealand skipper said, “Ngidi is a big loss. He was the find last year for us, he bowled really well. We were looking forward to having him for the majority of the tournament. We’ve got a squad that can cover his absence but some players are valuable. The onus goes on the other overseas options. We are taking our time on his replacement at the moment.”
On the value of experience in the competition, Fleming said, “Experience counts in our camp. We bought, as you guys said last year, an old side. But we prefer to look at it as an experienced side because recall does count.
“Being able to stand up to pressure situations and recall how you dealt with them in the past is a key component in a fast-moving game. Our players are still very skilful but that experience counts. I value that a lot. The methods in which you win or compete are very important if you can keep repeating them.”