Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the Indian Premier League's most successful team, is gearing up for the new season. IPL V starts on April 4 in Chennai and will conclude on May 27 at the same venue.
Gurunath Meiyappan, Team Principal, CSK, exuded confidence ahead of the fifth edition. His belief in the team is not misplaced — CSK has won the title twice, once been the runner-up and a semifinalist on the other occasion. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side has also triumphed in the Champions League once.
“We will be going for a hat-trick in the IPL this time around,” said a buoyant Gurunath while speaking to the media here on Monday. He was pleased with the acquisition of left-arm spinning all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. “Jajeda is a good utility cricketer who will add to our spin bowling as the second spinner in the middle period. We were missing such a bowler. He is also a useful batsman.”
Hit on Facebook
Gurunath dwelt on CSK's growing popularity. “The team already has a million followers on Facebook and the figure should rise to two million around the middle of the season.
The merchandising went online on Sunday morning and is already picking up. This year we plan to have merchandising outlets at the airports as well.”
He was optimistic about IPL's TRP ratings. Terming the fortunes of the Indian team as cyclical in nature, Gurunath was hopeful about the IPL's hold on television viewership despite the ratings for the India matches dropping over the past few months. The performances of the Indian team were looking up again, he said.
Talking about CSK's bench strength, Gurunath remembered the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan telling him during IPL-2, “I have to fight for my position in this team.”
He said star batsman Michael Hussey would miss the first seven matches of the season due to his commitments with the Australian team but added this would provide the promising Abhinav Mukund an opportunity to cement his place in the team as an opener.
Gurunath acknowledged the contributions of skipper Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming. “Dhoni has been a great captain and Fleming is one of the finest coaches in the world. Steve Rixon, the fielding coach, and Andy Bichel, the bowling coach, have provided valuable inputs. From what I hear, paceman Sudip Tyagi, presently training under Bichel in Brisbane, is bowling very well these days.”
He thanked CSK's sponsors — The Hindu being one of them — for their support.
Rakesh Singh, Joint President, Marketing, said, “I am bullish about CSK, both about its performance on the field and the merchandising of its products. This season we have also focussed a lot on the social media.”