Stephen Fleming delivers some really concerning news for CSK fans even though they are in the good form

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IPL 2019 | We are scrapping hard to hide our holes, says Stephen Fleming

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SportsCafe Desk

04/07/2019

Stephen Fleming has gone on to accept that his team Chennai Super Kings have chunks in their armour and they are trying to fill them. Fleming also spoke on length about drafting in Scott Kuggeleijn and his phenomenal debut which was an attempt by the Super Kings to fill in their gaps.

Chennai Super Kings are a side which has most of its core players above the age of 30. The players are either in the second half of their career or at the fag end of it, which made many cricket analysts doubt their abilities. They have put an end to all these doubts with a victorious campaign in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League and a dominating performance in this edition as well, winning four out of five games until now. 

However, they cannot deny the fact that, with Dwayne Bravo being ruled out for two weeks, their death bowling has taken a serious hit. Apart from that, Lungi Ngidi and David Willey were also ruled out before the start of the season due to injury and personal reasons respectively, and Bravo is the latest on the list. The Chennai based franchise is trying to fix that issue and has drafted in New Zealand pacer Scott Kuggeleijn as a replacement for Ngidi. Head coach Fleming also did not shy away from accepting that his side is lacking in few departments, without naming the fast bowling department.

"We are a little bit thin; there's no doubt about it, so that's why the introduction of Scott was important just to see how thin we were. We have to work hard; at home we can get away with spinners. The bowlers are trying hard to make sure they can contribute and today they did. Keep that in mind that our spinners were outstanding as well. We know we have holes and we're just scrapping hard to hide them,” Fleming said, reported ESPN Cricinfo.

Kuggeleijn possesses pace, as he can consistently bowl over 140 kmph and he also made his debut for New Zealand in 2017, these factors attracted Fleming towards the pacer. He also praised the young pacer for his performance in his first ever IPL match against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday. He did not get the best of starts, giving away 27 runs in his first two over. In spite of that, he did not bog down under pressure and scalped the wickets of KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan in the death overs.

"(Kuggeleijn) interests me because he had some pace and played international cricket. The thing we can't understand without working with him is his temperament. He has been here for only three days and to throw him in a big game in a home ground was a big ask and the first two overs was just that,” said the 46-year-old.

Fleming had seen the pacer bowl cutters for his side Northern Districts in New Zealand's domestic T20 competition - the Super Smash. He demanded the same from the 27-year-old on a slow Chepauk track and much to his and the skipper’s joy, he delivered. The Kings required 46 off the last three overs with eight wickets in hand, and the set pair of Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan was there at the crease. Kuggeleijn bowled his slow cutters, making it impossible for the batsmen to play at the already slow pitch. Thereby, he only gave away seven runs and dismissed Rahul in that over, making it a cakewalk for CSK. He also bowled the final over, of which, 26 were required, but he only gave three runs and scalped another wicket to dismiss Sarfaraz.

"It was about being firm on what we wanted: hit the middle of the wicket and bowl your cutters which is what we saw a bit during scouting. We were strong with him during that [strategic] break. It was just very instructional so that to take away any doubt from him and just do that and he did that well. Once he had confidence that it was working, he was able to get into that. He was fractionally full [early on] and that can be nerves and the whole environment. I was a bit worried we were going to be putting him in a situation which was going to be tough and he responded well,” Fleming explained.

Last but not least, the coach credited the team culture for the reason that the pacer came in and performed so well and claimed that the performance will make Kuggeleijn gel into the group.

"(We) just have to back him (Kuggeleijn). MS (Dhoni) is very supportive," Fleming said. "It is a culture where if it (the plan) hadn't worked, we are not scathing. We understand how tough it can be. When we bring someone in we look at what skills they bring and try to get the best out of them. Today was a massive step for him to be part of the group and to win a game. To be part of the last part of the game, to make a big contribution goes a long way in making you feel part of the group,” the former New Zealand captain concluded.

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