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Updated March 25th, 2024 at 22:10 IST

'It could be Ruturaj or another': CSK head coach Stephen Fleming ready to infuse changes in the team

"It could be Ruturaj or another opening combination tomorrow. We're still early into the tournament, playing around with our combinations."

MS Dhoni with Stephen Fleming
MS Dhoni with Stephen Fleming | Image:PTI
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Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming said on Monday that Ruturaj Gaikwad opening the innings for CSK is not a written principle. The coach is ready to induce experiments in the team. Chennai Super Kings won their IPL 2024 opening encounter against RCB. The team will take on Gujrat Titans on Tuesday.

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Stephen Fleming ready to experiment with the opening position

Gaikwad contributed 15 runs, while his opening partner Rachin Ravindra made a 15-ball 37 as the five-time champions defeated Royal Challengers Bengaluru by six wickets on Friday.

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Asked if Gaikwad should take more responsibility as a batter, Fleming said, "It's (role) not defined like that. One day, a player will be better than the other, and Rachin (Ravindra) was the better man the other day (against RCB)." Fleming said he was not averse to experimenting with the opening combination as the tournament progressed.

"It could be Ruturaj or another opening combination tomorrow. We're still early into the tournament, playing around with our combinations. We want the players to be positive. And, if they come around (performing) at the same time on any given day, that would be great," Fleming told the media on the eve of the match against Gujarat Titans here.

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The former New Zealand skipper recalled that Gaikwad and Devon Conway had shared the opener's role last season, which was instrumental in the team lifting its fifth IPL title.

"Last season, Ruturaj and Devon Conway shared the role (of openers) and scored the runs. The volume of runs those two got last season was a big reason why we progressed through the competition," he added.
Fleming said he was impressed with the batting show against RCB, adding that the Impact Player rule made it look even better.

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"Not sure, but I liked the intent of the batters (against RCB). We have a longer batting line-up with an extra player (Impact player)," he reckoned.
"You don't always get away with one big score. So, to have everybody contribute is a positive. It's not an easy game to play while chasing 175-plus.

"We don't know whose day it's going to be tomorrow. The players are training well for that occasion, and the intent that they have got is very encouraging."

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Ravindra stuck to his game

Fleming credited the team's batting coach Michael Hussey for putting in the effort to "introduce" Ravindra to the squad.

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"Part of introducing players to the squad involves getting them comfortable, and Mike Hussey works around that plan a lot. Predominantly, we ask the players to do what they would in a normal environment while playing during an overseas tour.

"That's what Rachin did. He played very well and stuck to his game. There were nerves around, which is common in the first game, and to put up a performance like that (against RCB) was very encouraging," he revealed.
With RCB scoring big during the death overs on Friday, Fleming backed Ravindra as a spin option against Gujarat Titans.

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"Possibly. Conditions are pretty good at the moment, and his bowling is an asset for the team. So, definitely yes," he said.

CSK had some good news on the eve of the match with Sri Lankan pacer Matheesha Pathirana being declared fit from a hamstring injury.
"He is certainly available for selection," said the head coach.

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(With inputs from PTI)

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Published March 25th, 2024 at 22:10 IST

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