Ranchi: Stephen Fleming is enjoying being in Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s hometown. A huge admirer of the Team India and Chennai Super Kings captain, Fleming felt the team has been lucky to have an “icon” like Dhoni in their ranks.
“Dhoni’s one of the greatest players around. For so long now he’s been a talisman, he’s come in and won games for all the teams he’s played for, in particular India. And some of the innings and responsible knocks he’s played have been outstanding. His captaincy is to lead from the front and he backs it up with performances,” said the former New Zealand captain.
“Dhoni’s ability as a cricketer has been talked about enough — he’s an unbelievable striker of the ball, he’s a bit unconventional, but his ability to play the game and bat the way he does is powered by his ability to constantly win matches for his teamů His ability to deal with pressure — that’s been talked about enough.
“He’s without doubt the most important figure in our side, and he leads the way. The others, who are fine players within their own right, are happy to fall in line and do their own job. We’re lucky to have him, we’re lucky to have him as captain, and it’s an honour to have him in side,” said the Super Kings coach.
“I think it’s nice that we’re in his hometown, he can spend some time at his home. And also the break that he had — he’s refreshed, he’s re-energised, he’s looking forward to the game tomorrow (Sunday). He’s enjoying having us in his hometown.
“I had a good trip with him in his car the other day, going past some places he played when he was young, and pointing out a few family spots. I really enjoyed that and it’s nice to be able to have such an icon come back to where it started for him and for the team to hopefully play well in his backyard. It’s a real privilege,” Fleming said.
He felt the atmosphere in the team has been great. “The atmosphere has been great. Sure it’s nice to get together and see everybody, catch up with what’s been going onů I guess the biggest frustration has been the weather... Mike Hussey has had a period of time out of the game.
“The only complaint would be the practice we’ve been able to do, and that means we’re probably a bit underdone going into tomorrow’s game. But the guys we’re talking about are proven performers, and it won’t take very long for them to get up to speed,” he said.
With this being the final tournament for the Super Kings before a fresh round of auction for the IPL, Fleming felt the team was in the right spirits. “We’re always motivated. That it could be the last time together as a group, is very important. We’ve talked about that.
“We’ve had some great success over six years, and to finish, I guess that six-year period with a good competition here is very important. We’re determined to do well after the IPL-VI final.
“It was a tough week during the IPL for us, something different. We’re usually a very quiet team, conservative team. And we’ll look to get that back. We’ve been very disciplined with what we’ve done around the camp so far, and we are pretty much looking to get into this last tournament.”