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CSK content to play around with combinations

Source: PTI
March 25, 2024 21:17 IST
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Opener Rachin Ravindra scored a 15-ball 37 in the opening win over RCB on Friday

IMAGE: Opener Rachin Ravindra scored a 15-ball 37 in the opening win over RCB on Friday. Photograph: BCCI

Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming said on Monday new skipper and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad is not expected to score big every time, adding that he believes in a collective effort.

Gaikwad contributed 15 runs, while his opening partner Rachin Ravindra made a 15-ball 37 as the five-time champions defeated Royal Challengers Bengaluru by six wickets on Friday.


Asked if Gaikwad should take more responsibility as a batter, Fleming said, "It's (role) not defined like that. One day, a player will be better than the other, and Rachin (Ravindra) was the better man the other day (against RCB)."

Fleming said he was not averse to experimenting with the opening combination as the tournament progressed.

"It could be Ruturaj or another opening combination tomorrow. We're still early into the tournament, playing around with our combinations. We want the players to be positive. And, if they come around (performing) at the same time on any given day, that would be great," Fleming told the media on the eve of the match against Gujarat Titans in Chennai.

The former New Zealand skipper recalled that Gaikwad and Devon Conway had shared the opener's role last season, which was instrumental in the team lifting its fifth IPL title.

"Last season, Ruturaj and Devon Conway shared the role (of openers) and scored the runs. The volume of runs those two got last season was a big reason why we progressed through the competition," he added.

Fleming said he was impressed with the batting show against RCB, adding that the Impact Player rule made it look even better.

"Not sure, but I liked the intent of the batters (against RCB). We have a longer batting line-up with an extra player (Impact player)," he reckoned.

"You don't always get away with one big score. So, to have everybody contribute is a positive. It's not an easy game to play while chasing 175-plus.

"We don't know whose day it's going to be tomorrow. The players are training well for that occasion, and the intent that they have got is very encouraging."

Fleming credited the team's batting coach Michael Hussey for putting in the effort to "introduce" Ravindra to the squad.

"Part of introducing players to the squad involves getting them comfortable, and Mike Hussey works around that plan a lot. Predominantly, we ask the players to do what they would in a normal environment while playing during an overseas tour.

"That's what Rachin did. He played very well and stuck to his game. There were nerves around, which is common in the first game, and to put up a performance like that (against RCB) was very encouraging," he revealed.

With RCB scoring big during the death overs on Friday, Fleming backed Ravindra as a spin option against Gujarat Titans.

"Possibly. Conditions are pretty good at the moment, and his bowling is an asset for the team. So, definitely yes," he said.

CSK had some good news on the eve of the match with Sri Lankan pacer Matheesha Pathirana being declared fit from a hamstring injury.

"He is certainly available for selection," said the head coach.

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