Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming has defended MS Dhoni and said that to expect him to make a 30-ball-70 after not having played much cricket in last one year or so is a difficult ask. He added that people want him to replicate his heroics from the past but it doesn't work that way.
MS Dhoni faced a lot of criticism for his lack of intent in the partnership with Faf du Plessis when CSK were chasing a humongous total of 217 runs against Rajasthan Royals. Dhoni did end up with 27* off 19 as he hit three back-to-back sixes in the final over of the innings. With the Men in Yellow needing 103 off 38 balls, Dhoni arrived at crease rather late at no.7 position. In the partnership of 65 runs off 31 balls between MS and Faf, the latter contributed 55 off 19 while Dhoni made merely 9 off 12.
Ever since, the former Indian captain has been facing backlash with experts like Kevin Pietersen, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir questioning his knock that came in a losing cause. But CSK coach Fleming batted for his skipper as he stated that as Dhoni hasn't played much cricket, of late, he just can't start batting in a swashbuckling manner straightaway and will take time to get back to his best.
"MS is one of the players that hasn't played much cricket in the last year-and-a-half. Everyone expects MS to come out and do what he has done in the past. It doesn't just happen, it takes a bit of work and a part of his process of getting up to speed is his game time.
"And that (match against Rajasthan Royals) was really the first time that he'd batted in the middle apart from a couple of balls against Mumbai Indians. As the tournament goes on, he'll just get better and better.
"To come in and expect him to get a 30-ball 70 would be a tough ask and we've other players also who are in good form and can do a job. So, it's valuing what each player can do, and also respecting Dhoni is one of a kind when he's in form and has been playing," Fleming was quoted as saying by CSK's official website, reported India Today.