Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Stephen Fleming keeps the flame burning for Chennai

Abu Dhabi: Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming, who is the coach of the Chennai Super Kings, was well known for his batting skills and his leadership qualities.

He has carried his ability to inspire players and has got the best out of the Chennai players. Despite the team being a star-studded one and the fact that he gets to meet the players only once a year, Fleming plays his role effectively.

“Half of the challenge is about keeping it exciting for the players who come in. We have a very relaxed atmosphere.

“It is just about getting the job done and with the great players, you don’t have to do much. So my main priority is creating an environment for senior players because travel and practice can be very draining in this heat, and so what a coach has to do is provide an environment [a] little bit different to the international squads from which the players come from,” said Fleming.

For Fleming, the team jersey is very special to him.

“It’s always a delight to put the yellow shoes back on. The Chennai yellow is very special. We all look forward to play with the same pride and consistency with which we run the team.

“Chennai is a very consistent side and we are excited to being in the UAE with new sponsors and new players. The players who have come into [the] side will have a new dimension and old hands who have been with us for some time will maintain their consistency. We have four days until we play so we will have lot of practice and be ready for it.”

Fleming is confident that the off-field issues surrounding the team will have no impact on the players. “We haven’t got together as a group. Individually we have been watching from New Zealand and Australia those events which are actually out of our hands. I am delighted to be back here and one thing I can guarantee is that once the group gets together, none of them would be bothered about outside issues that are taking place.”

Fleming is delighted with the new additions to his side. “We had some powerful additions to the side. Dwayne Smith joining the likes of Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja make seven top-order batters. We have lost a great player in Mike Hussey, who has gone to another team [Mumbai Indians], but we are a team made up of match-winners and [have] a good team philosophy,” he said.

When asked about the role of spin on UAE wickets, Fleming said: “Spin will play a big part here. For that reason we are comfortable to have [Ravindra] Jadeja and [Ravichandran] Ashwin. West Indies’ Samuel Badree was an excellent buy. Pawan Negi and even Suresh Raina bowled a lot in the last edition.”