After a thrilling Indian Premier League final ended in defeat, Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming has acknowledged the need for rebuilding an “ageing squad” after a poor show with the bat which proved to be his side’s achilles heel through out the season.
CSK squad with an average of 34 for the core team, has proved that age is just a number by winning the IPL last year and finishing runners-up to Mumbai Indians here on Sunday night.
But as pointed out by both Fleming and skipper MS Dhoni, they could have done a lot more in the batting department.
“We will give some time for dust to settle down. I think if you win one title and reach the final next time, you have had good two years. We do understand that we are an ageing team. So at some point, we just have to look at recreating the side, obviously MS as well,” said Fleming following the one-run loss to Mumbai.
Fleming said that the planning for next season will start after Dhoni is back from the World Cup. The former New Zealand skipper said that just like other teams have created a new pool of talent, CSK will be cautiously also enter into the rebuilding phase.
“He (Dhoni) will be travelling to the World Cup. A lot of talent has been established in other teams. You need to do it carefully and get the balance right, when you try to go for players who you think can deliver for us.”
While the bowlers were exceptional, the batsmen could have done better, felt Fleming.
“This year in Chennai was tough (turning track), the conditions were tough to read, hard to play. A little bit of training as well, our batters weren’t big enough from the form point of view. If we look at the aggregate of numbers from our top order, we could have liked a bit more. Batting certainly was a weak part of our game this season, there is a lot of work to do.
“But at the same time, how much more do you need? We got to the final, we went till the last ball. Of course, we didn’t have a good season with the bat. But there was never a lack of effort,” said Fleming.
Shane Watson kept CSK in the game with a fighting 80 in their chase of 150 but did not get the support from the other batsmen. Watson was run out in the final over bowled by Lasith Malinga who managed to defend nine runs.
Earlier, Dhoni too was adjudged run out after due deliberation after a direct hit from Ishan Kishan, marking a massive moment in the game.
“It was a big moment. Took a long time to give the decision. Always a big moment when MS goes. He was really consistent this year. It’s also the calmness with which he operates that’s different from the other players,” Fleming said.
Dhoni’s dismissal was the boost that Mumbai Indians needed at that point of time.
“So his dismissal does two things. Our job stops down a bit and it lifts the opposition. So yes it was a big moment.”
He did not expect a last-ball finish after CSK reached 53 for one in the first six overs.
“Your heart is pumping isn’t it? Lot of emotions. Nine of the last over was probably a position we thought we will never get to after the start we had in the first five overs. I think we were hoping to see one Shane Watson six, which didn’t come eventually.
“Malinga bowled a good over. Shane was tired, he was batting that long. It was a great last over of a final, going till the last ball. A crafty old fox like Malinga bowling a great delivery. We can go back and look at different scenarios that could have taken place but the bottom line is it was a good hard-fought final,” said Fleming.