Even as music filled the ears, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming entered the stage at a bright function, ahead of the side’s campaign in IPL-6, here on Thursday.
Fresh from leading India to an unprecedented (by an Indian team) 4-0 sweep of Australia in the recent Test series at home, Dhoni sounded confident about CSK’s chances in the IPL.
Asked whether the form displayed by himself, M. Vijay, R. Ashwin and R. Jadeja in the Test series augured well for CSK (all these four cricketers represent the Chennai franchise), Dhoni replied, “It is always good to take some momentum and form into a competition, irrespective of the format. We are very confident as a team.”
Dhoni said the side had striven to find the right balance. “We had some good players who were not getting enough opportunities to play. So we have let them go. We have also bought some new cricketers at the auction who we feel will give the side more options.”
CSK is the most successful side in the IPL, winning the title twice, reaching the final on two occasions and making it to the semifinals once. Apart from the quality of players, Dhoni attributed the consistency of the side to team-spirit.
Praise for unsung players
He also spoke about the unsung players in the team. “The focus is on a few star players, both Indian and foreign, but there are others too who have contributed immensely. Take Badrinath for instance. He might not be a big hitter but has come up with several important performances for the team.”
On foreign players, Dhoni said, “We do not only rely on foreign players alone. Even the overseas players can make a difference only when the others are doing their job.”
Dwelling on domestic pacemen — the lone weak link in the CSK line-up last season — Dhoni said, “We have signed some new young domestic pacemen in the side this season like Ankit Rajpoot, Ronit More and Imitiaz Ahmed. They are all promising pacemen.”
Coach Stephen Fleming said, “We are confident. I think we have all bases covered.”
T.S. Raghupathy, executive president, India Cements, believed CSK’s new cricket kit, for various age-groups in different categories, would help spread the game to different sections.
The CSK junior tournament, he said, made the game popular in the schools. The CSK Corporate Trophy, he felt, got the corporates involved in a big way in the game.
The Battle of Chepauk, a video game featuring CSK, was also released on the occasion.