Calcutta: Their first match against Kings XI Punjab, in Abu Dhabi, will be a home game for the Chennai Super Kings. However, the only thing that will remind them of ‘home’ is the heat.
The tournament opener, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders at the Zayed Cricket Stadium had patches of green — a sight that the boys from Chennai are not used to.
On the eve of the match, coach Stephen Fleming said that the heat might keep the ball from moving around in an afternoon game, like it does under lights.
“The first game here was an evening game and so there was a bit in the wicket for the bowlers. Ours will be an afternoon game and the heat will play a role,” said Fleming.
Fleming believes that the Punjab outfit is a dangerous side this season with the likes of Virender Sehwag, Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey in their ranks.
The likes of Michael Hussey and S Badrinath have been replaced by Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum in the top order. While Fleming admitted that the team will miss the wisdom and guidance of Hussey, he was very sure of the balance of the current squad.
“Mike will be missed. These are the things you have to go through when you’re looking to pick a new side. You have to let go of some of the players you’d want,” Fleming said.
He added: “What we have this year is a very powerful side. Smith and McCullum have added firepower to our top order this year.
“These additions to the strong base of Indian players that we already had, bring a fine balance to the squad.”
“We want Ashish Nehra to lead our Indian pacers — the likes of Mohit Sharma and Ishwar Pandey,” the CSK coach said.