Dhoni is mentally engaged and determined: Stephen Fleming

Updated: 19 September, 2020 07:37 IST | PTI | Abu Dhabi

Dhoni retired from international cricket last month after being on a break for over one year and when asked about the 39-year-old's preparedness for the IPL.

Stephen Fleming
Stephen Fleming

His sabbatical from the game has done Mahendra Singh Dhoni a world of good, Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming said on Friday, asserting that the enigmatic skipper is "mentally engaged and determined" to encounter the challenges of a "tactically different" IPL. Dhoni's CSK will take on Rohit Sharma's Mumbai Indians in the tournament opener on Saturday. Fleming, a former New Zealand captain, stressed that his team's experience of winning big matches will come in handy during the next 53 days.

Dhoni retired from international cricket last month after being on a break for over one year and when asked about the 39-year-old's preparedness for the IPL, Fleming said, "It has been no different. He's very fit and mentally, he's been very engaged and determined." "In some ways the break can work for the experienced and older players that we have. MS is fresh and ready to go," Fleming said in a pre-tournament interview to CSK's official website. The three-time champions are banking heavily on their 35-plus players, including Dhoni himself, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, and Imran Tahir to name a few.

"...experienced players identify key times and that's why they've done so well in their careers. They can turn games, absorb pressure or just sum out the situation. That's what experience is about and that's why we value it so highly," he said. Starting against a quality side like MI is certainly exciting for Fleming, who wants his men to have a crack at the defending champions after their agonising last-ball loss in the previous edition.

"The first game is always full of anxiety, nerves and excitement, and CSK-MI has added extra excitement and pressure and we enjoy that. We've earned the right to play the first game by playing well last year, and given the way the final finished last year, it's nice to have another crack at MI.

"They are a very good side. You get a good idea after the first game as to where your team is sitting," Fleming said.

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First Published: 19 September, 2020 07:24 IST

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