Chennai: Last season’s finalist Chennai Super Kings (CSK) would prove an even stronger side in the IPL this year, said N. Srinivasan, the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements — the franchise owner of CSK — at the official press conference of the team here on Monday.
“We missed winning the IPL by a whisker in the last edition and our aim is to win the title this year. We are focussed on this,” said Mr. Srinivasan.
He added the coming in of influential all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and the presence of several multi-dimensional cricketers such as Albie Morkel and Jacob Oram would add great depth and value to the side.
Mr. Srinivasan expected the IPL to be a success. “The fact that the tickets for the opening games in Cape Town have been sold out tells us about the interest the tournament has generated. Cricket South Africa has gone out of its way to support the IPL,” he said.
Asked about batting legend Sunil Gavaskar’s criticism of Kolkata Knight Riders’ coach John Buchannan, Mr. Srinivasan replied, “I think Shah Rukh Khan has answered.”
Stephen Fleming, CSK’s player-cum-coach, lavished praise on Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“He’s an outstanding captain and leader. While there has been a lot of focus on his attributes as a skipper, sometimes we forget how hard it is for him to keep wickets and remain a key batsman while doing the top job. His contribution as a player is second to none. He leads by example. And he has the respect of the cricketing community.”
The IPL, he said, enabled young cricketers to handle pressure situations in an atmosphere similar to that of international cricket earlier than they would have otherwise done.
On Buchannan’s multi-captaincy theory, Fleming opined, “He (Buchannan) is someone who has always challenged the way the game is being played. It should be interesting.”
V.B. Chandrasekar, who heads CSK’s cricketing operations, introduced the side’s cricketers — available for the occasion — to the media.
A book — The days gone by: Glimpses of India’s Test cricket journey, 1932-2007 — written by P. Ramchander was released on the occasion.