IPL 2020 — CSK vs DC: MS Dhoni will ‘get better and better’ as tournament goes on, says Stephen Fleming
Dubai: Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming has defended captain MS Dhoni amid criticism over his batting in the game against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in IPL 2020. Chasing a 200-plus score, Dhoni came in at No. 7 and by the time he could unleash his big shots, the game was sealed in Sharjah. Fleming, speaking ahead of CSK’s game against Delhi Capitals (DC) today (September 25), said that expecting a 30-ball 70 from Dhoni was a “tough ask” as he has not batted much in the last one-and-half years.
CSK got off to a winning start against defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in Abu Dhabi. Later, they travelled to Sharjah, which saw a record number of 33 sixes with RR’s Sanju Samson leading the big-hitting show.
Chasing 217, CSK scored 200/6 with Dhoni smashing three consecutive sixes off Tom Curran in the final over of the match. He remained not out on 29 off 17 balls after a slow start. But those runs could not change the result for CSK.
Many questioned why Dhoni did not promote himself in that big run-chase. However, he explained after the match that he had not played cricket for a long time and hence batted at No. 7.
Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15. His last competitive match before IPL 2020 was in July 2019 in the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.
Speaking to CSK’s official website, Fleming said, “MS (Dhoni) is one of the players that haven’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.”
He added, “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.”