Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming today said that it won’t be a cakewalk for his side to defend their Champions League Twenty20 title as they have been placed in a tough group in this edition of the tournament.
Title holders CSK have been clubbed alongside fellow IPL side Mumbai Indians, 2009 champions New South Wales, South Africa’s Cape Cobras and Trinidad and Tobago from the West Indies in Group A.
And Fleming said the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side will have to play as a unit to give them any chance of registering back-to-back titles.
“Looking at the two groups obviously, we are in a strong one. We are playing our opening match against Mumbai. On paper, I also find New South Wales a pretty formidable team. Most of the teams are good on paper,” he said on the eve of their tournament opener against Mumbai Indians here tomorrow.
“Team philosophy works for us. But with the quality of competition and the teams in our group, it is going to be tough to win the tournament,” he added.
Asked whether the possibility of winning back-to-back titles would act as a motivation for his players going into the tournament, he said, “Not exactly. I think it is for the coach to keep the boys focussed on their job. But you always play a tournament to win it. It is our desire to keep doing well in the tournament. The players are proud to represent CSK and there is already a nice unity among them.”
With a new pitch on offer at the M Chidambaram stadium, the former New Zealand skipper said his team’s success will also depend on how quickly they get accustomed to the wicket.
“We need to make our assessments fast and then adapt our game according to the condition. The nature of the surface has changed completely and adjusting to it will be one of our biggest challenges. But we have the balance and ability to adjust our game and be competitive,” he insisted.
Fleming was also not concerned with the fact that he got very little time to prepare the team for the tournament as most of the Chennai players have assembled in batches.
“It is the same. It is nice to welcome the players again in the group. The boys were excited to be together again. And we also had a very good practice session today,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mike Hussey said that, along with fellow opener Murali Vijay, he is hoping to provide good starts to CSK’s innings, which according to him has been the team’s mantra both in CLT20 as well as IPL.
“The real strength of CSK has been to get off to good starts and then keep wickets in hand for other batsmen like Dhoni and Morkel to come in and take advantage. It is very important for us to get off to a good start, to set the platform for a big score,” the Australian batsman said.
He also said that he shares a good chemistry with Vijay.
“I think we (me and Vijay) complement each other quite well. We are probably still quite new as an opening pair but we are getting better day by day. We also get along very well off the field,” Hussey said.