Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni has asserted that experience will always come to a team’s aid, particularly in a tournament like the IPL, and emphasized on the need to have a good mix of youth and seniority. Dhoni further spoke about the decision to promote both Curran and Jadeja.
Veterans Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh not participating in the tournament opened the door for Chennai Super Kings to try out a few youngsters, but MS Dhoni, in the curtain-raiser versus Mumbai, stuck to the club’s age-old mantra of backing experienced players. Barring Sam Curran and Lungi Ngidi, CSK stuck to all their known performers, not taking into consideration their age, and eventually, the tactic paid off as they raced towards a convincing five-wicket victory.
It was experienced men in the form of Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu who did the job for the side and speaking in the post-match presentation, skipper MS Dhoni stressed on the importance of having ‘experienced players’. Dhoni asserted that in a tournament like IPL, experience is a factor that will not only pay off but will also immeasurably help youngsters grow.
“[Experience] does pay off. Especially these days 300 ODIs with three-match series, it's a big feat. You need a good mix of youngsters and experience. What really helps youngsters in the IPL is the fact that there are lots of senior players from different countries for 60-70 days,” Dhoni said in the post-match presentation.
Post the dismissal of Ambati Rayudu, with CSK 121/3, needing 42 to win off the last four overs, fans and experts predicted Dhoni himself to walk in and finish off the game but the CSK skipper sprung a surprise by promoting both Jadeja and Sam Curran ahead of him. The reason behind the move, Dhoni revealed, was to change things up a bit and give players like Jadeja and Curran the chance to express themselves.
“[With] Curran - that's one thing we haven't done [experimenting]. At some point of time we need to give Jadeja and somebody like Sam to express themselves. This was the ideal way - one legspinner, one left arm spinner. We felt it was ideal to intimidate the bowler, a psychological thing - to say he's been sent to do one job.”
Despite the convincing victory, though, the three-time IPL-winning skipper asserted that there are plenty of areas for his side to improve on.
“I felt we took time to gauge how to bowl in these conditions. The MI batsmen batted well, they were able to put pressure. Overall plenty of positives, but plenty of areas to improve. Specially with the timing, if you bat second, teams will realise it will swing till the dew comes in. These are the learnings. Overall a very good first game to play and no injuries - most of us are retired.”