Why Kepler Wessels is not Super Kings coach
By: Sanjjeev K Samyal
Place: PORT ELIZABETH
Wessels, who guided Chennai to the IPL final last year, clears the air about him not being part of Dhoni's team|
The big surprise of the tournament is the poor start of last year's finalist Chennai Super Kings. Having lost three games out of five played, with one washout, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led team faces an unenviable task of winning six out of their remaining nine games to make it to the semi-finals.
Many are curious why Kepler Wessels is not the coach of the team. If the criterion is performance he has delivered by taking the team to the final where they lost off the last ball to Rajasthan Royals. Also, he would have been an ideal candidate as the tournament is being played in South Africa.
As it happens in such cases, various conspiracy theories are being floated of the politics behind the decision to not renew his contract. The man himself, however, took the opportunity in an interview to clear the air when MiD DAY caught up with him on his homeground, St George's Park.
"It was always a one-year deal. The Super Kings could not find a coach and I was commentating in Bangladesh four weeks before the event started. It was all done in a rush. We agreed at the outset, I said: 'I could do it only for one year'. They were happy with that and it was only a one-year deal. There is nothing sinister in that at all. My focus over the last couple of years has been on the broadcasting side. So, as far I am concerned it was a good experience, a successful experience. I am still good mates with all the players, get on well with all the CSK officials," Wessels told MiD DAY.
One of the theories floating around was that there was an ego clash with skipper Dhoni. Wessels rubbished it: "Dhoni and I got along absolutely fine. I enjoyed working with him. We came to know each other reasonably well. His leadership skills on the field are really good and he is a good motivator."
The icing on the cake for Wessels would have been to seal the fine run with the winner's trophy. But, it ended in heartbreak as the Royals clinched the final off the last ball. Would he have opted to continue had his team won? Wessels said: "It's sometimes good to go out on top."
The task at hand for CSK is very challenging but the former South African captain still backed his former team.
"It won't be easy to qualify for the semis, but by no means they are out of it but clearly they have got to play better. They have to improve in the bowling department, there is where their problems lie."
But, with each defeat the pressure is increasing on the current caching staff and if the CSK management are looking for new options then who better than their former successful coach. Being in SA and involved in the tournament as a commentator, will help.
Will he come back, if the CSK management send him an SOS? "I haven't even thought of it. They are quite okay with what they have and they will end up okay. We will worry about that when the time comes," said Wessels, breaking into a hearty laugh.
And for his four favourites for the semi-final? "It is a little too early, but Delhi Daredevils and Deccan Chargers surely. Mumbai Indians are looking good. The fourth spot is wide open."
Overall, Wessels gave the thumbs up to the IPL and predicted the tournament to be a hit in his home country too.