CSK coach Stephen Fleming, on the back of his side’s mauling at the hands of RR, has conceded that the glory days of the ageing CSK side, popularly known as MSD’s Daddy’s Army, might finally be coming to an end. A listless display on Monday pushed Dhoni’s CSK to eighth in the table.
When CSK started the IPL 2020 season off in emphatic fashion, defeating defending champions Mumbai Indians in the curtain raiser, there was hope amongst the club’s loyalists that the ‘old’ side could defy odds for the third season running. While that soon came crashing down due to multiple losses, the indomitable past history of the franchise meant that, despite the team picking up just 6 points from the first 9 games, there was still hope that the franchise could turn things around, much like they did in the 2010 season.
However, the Super Kings were handed yet another reality check on Monday in Abu Dhabi, where they were humbled by bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals. Batting first, a meagre 125 was all CSK scored and despite an early scare, the Royals coasted towards the target with ease to hand the Men in Yellow their seventh defeat of the season.
Speaking in the aftermath of the loss, CSK coach Stephen Fleming conceded that the ageing CSK side might have run out of juice, hinting that several players in the club might be past it.
“It’s fair to say looking at the table now, this team might have run out of a bit of a juice. In the three year circle, we always thought that a third year with the ageing group would be difficult, and now the fact that the IPL is in Dubai has challenged us with a whole new set of requirements,” Fleming said in the post match press conference.
The defeat was CSK’s seventh of the season, but arguably the worst of the lot. Against a side level on points with them, the Men in Yellow were behind the eight ball right from the word go and showed no intent or hunger to win the game at any stage. Fleming revealed that, on the back of a performance in which there were no positives, the mood in the CSK camp was ‘really low’, and admitted that reaching the play-offs might now be an impossible task. With just 6 points in 10 games, CSK, in order to qualify for the playoffs, will now not only have to win all their remaining matches, but will also have to hope for other results to go their way.
“The mood in the camp is pretty down. We’ve come close in a couple of games but today we were thoroughly outplayed. You usually get hope and confidence moving forward when you get positives, but we knew today was an important game to stay alive in the competition. I think we still have an outside chance, but when you’re relying on other results and a change in form for your team, it’s very hard to be upbeat and positive.
“So we’ve got to look at your next 4 encounters and ensure that we get back and hang in the competition. Maybe we’ll find out some answers with some other players we’ve got,” said the CSK coach.
CSK and Dhoni, particularly this season, have been bombarded with questions about Kedar Jadhav’s bowling, with the supposed all-rounder not having bowled a single ball all season. Fleming asserted that Dhoni does not consider Jadhav a T20 bowler and claimed that the franchise only planned to use the 35-year-old in case the pitches turned square.
“I don’t think MS Dhoni considers him a T20 bowler. We’ve been operating on the fact that he won’t bowl unless it’s really turning. The tracks, up to this point, only have been slow - they have not turned square where he (Jadhav) might come into play.”