CSK coach Stephen Fleming: Here to win IPL, not develop young players
Chennai Super Kings is probably one of the most consistent teams in the Indian Premier League. The team has some of the most experienced players in the tournament and has coach Stephen Fleming managing it. But despite their stellar record, CSK came under criticism for harbouring older players in the team. But Fleming had a word or two for the doubters.
"They're 35-36, not 55-56. A massive amount has been made of it," Fleming said in a press meeting on April 24. "I'm not here to develop young players, I'm here to try and win the competition for the franchise. And that's why we value experience because we think that gives us the best chance," he added.
As other IPL teams struck a balance between experienced players and younger ones, CSK went the other way. Many wondered if the team could win another title, and that the squad could be world champions only if it was about a few years back.
CSK has retained most of the squad that had brought them much glory over the years. As a result, the team still has players such as MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, and Ravindra Jadeja who were retained. Dwanye Bravo and Faf du Plessis are still on the team with the Right To Match option. The team also has senior players such as Ambati Rayudu (32 years old), Kedar Jadhav (33), Murali Vijay (34), Shane Watson (36), Harbhajan Singh (37) and Imran Tahir (39).
"Yes, it is exciting to see young players come and perform. But over a long season, I look for consistency and professionalism. I've found that older players who are still motivated, still fit and still committed, they can provide you consistency that gets you up around mid to top table, which allows you to progress in the competition," said Fleming.
Questions were raised after CSK had a poor day at the field against Mumbai Indians in the first match. Fans were concerned about the ability of 30 plus players in the squad in the shorter version of the game which puts a lot of emphasis on fielding. CSK has till now won four of the five games played.