(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Sat 27 May 2023, 11:21 PM
Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming does not mind if the team feel nervous before the match as it will bring out the best from the players in the title clash with the defending champions Gujarat Titans in the 2023 Indian Premier League in Ahemdabad on Sunday.
In a pre-match press conference, Fleming said that they have worked hard to reach the final and a bit of anxiety and nervousness would help them in the title decider match.
"We've worked very hard at that. We've got some good people around us. We look forward to this challenge, but you have to have a certain level of anxiety and nervousness to be at your best, I guess. It's about how you manage that and how quickly you can sync into the game. That's what we will be looking to do," CSK coach said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
CSK will be playing the 10th final, the most by any team in IPL. Fleming was appointed as CSK coach in the year 2009 and since then Chennai has entered the final 10 times, winning four titles. CSK are the second most successful team after Mumbai Indians who have five IPL trophies.
"It's a big occasion, the game doesn't change, but the outcome does; it's really hard not to look too far ahead, and the dream is of winning it again, right from the coach to a guy who hasn't played a game. To be part of that [final] is what we set out to do at the start, that's our purpose. Trying to contain that excitement and trying to stay in the present is one of the great challenges as we get towards the end of the tournament," Fleming added.
On facing defending champions in the final, former New Zealand cricketer said that they are the most consistent sides in the tournament and their team needs to be very present in the game.
"We've got to stay very present against Gujarat, one of the most consistent sides in the tournament. They're an excellent side, and we can't afford to dream too much, but this is why we're here. The excitement levels and the nerves of the big stage slowly simmer away, but it's a good thing to have, it's just how you work with them in your system," he continued.
CSK's last IPL season was not great as they ended in the ninth position, reflecting back on that, Fleming said that the games have become so competitive that "small defining" moments in the match can determine where you finish in the tournament.
"What I will say is margins between success and failure have gotten closer and closer each year. We may have been ninth [in 2022] or seventh [in 2020], and you look back, and there are a number of games that could've gone differently. Maybe, last-ball finishes or a great performance. So they're small defining moments that determine where you finish on the log.
It's just getting closer and closer as teams get smarter about the players they pick or conditions they play in. This year's been no different, it's been the hardest. Each team you come up against it feels like an incredibly difficult challenge. The thing we're really proud of is that when we've had a bad season, we've been able to bounce back," he added.
"A part of it is to do with how we finish a bad season. We're always looking for the positives, giving players opportunities that we can work into the following year; we don't write it off. There are a lot of things to learn when a season goes well, but equally, a lot more things to learn when it doesn't. So, we're always looking to get better.
"We are realistic about how difficult it is to get to this stage. That's why we are proud of our record of being consistent over a period of time. We've been able to put performances together under pressure when we've been in form and when we've been out of form or when we've got new players. The greatest challenge of this competition is when you get a new team that's going really well, you've got to disband, and you can only keep four players. The fact that we've been able to stay consistent with those rules in place is something we look back very proudly on."
Fleming also talked about CSK's 50% record in the IPL finals, He said, "[In the past] we geared ourselves up for Chennai so well that we struggled in different conditions at times in the away games, So, the finals are always a little bit of a challenge, our record is about 50% [won four, lost five finals] maybe, that's due to the style of game that we created."
Fleming also emphasised how playing on multiple sorts of courts in Chennai this time, as opposed to just one type of surface at home, has prepared them to be a better team away.
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"The victim of being so good at home is that we had to make adjustments when we went to a neutral venue. This year we're a bit more rounded, we've had to be because of that reason. Going back to Chennai [this season] was hard [in terms of conditions]. I wanted to bowl [first vs Mumbai], MS was the other way and in Qualifier 1, it was the opposite. So we were well off the mark in trying to get the conditions right, but this time around, the team is rounded enough to put performances together come the finals. We're not too worried about the conditions we will get. We're mentally in a lot better place than what we've been in the past." - ANI