IPL 2021: "Losing Josh Hazlewood was a big blow" - Stephen Fleming
Following the defeat to DC, CSK coach Stephen Fleming that the lack of overseas pace bowling options might trouble his side
Losing Josh Hazlewood was a big blow as it left the team bereft of overseas pace bowling options with Jason Behrendorff and South Africa's Lungi Ngidi also not available for the next game, said Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming. Australia pacer Hazlewood had withdrawn at the last moment to keep himself fit for upcoming international assignments. Behrendorff was named his replacement last Friday and is yet to arrive, while Ngidi is serving his quarantine after returning midway from South Africa's ODI series against Pakistan.
"(Lungi) Ngidi won't be available. He won't be arriving in time for the next game. So losing Josh Hazlewood, which was the plan to have him available for these games, is a blow simply as an option upfront," Fleming said in the post-match press conference.
"Ngidi will be arriving soon. (Jason) Behrendorff would obviously be following that. It's (bowling) an area that we are probably short on.
"But we still look at the Indian bowlers and we have international bowler Sam Curran and probably expect a little bit more."
CSK went down by seven wickets in its opening match of IPL-14 after the Delhi Capitals chased down a target of 189 in the 19th over with openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan providing the platform with a rollicking century stand.
One of the highlights of this edition is that all teams will play in neutral venues amid the rise in COVID-19 pandemic. Fleming pointed out that Mumbai Indians also struggled to adapt to Chennai conditions in the tournament opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday and said teams will have to find ways to adapt to neutral conditions. "We will learn a lot from being here for another 4 games. But don't underestimate how much it takes to change the philosophy of a side. We are very much a Chennai-based side," the CSK coach said.
"We saw Mumbai struggle to a degree in Chennai the other night. They have got a challenge on how to change their tactics in Chennai and our tactics have to be a little bit better with the ball in Mumbai.
"So, it's one of the quirks of this competition in this COVID-19 age and we just have to find a way," he added.
Fleming said, "it's going to be high-scoring games in Mumbai and toss might play a big part."
The former New Zealand skipper was full of praise for veteran Suresh Raina, who slammed a 36-ball 54 after returning to the IPL. "It's really good, considering the cricket and where he has come from. It was an outstanding inning."
Raina had missed the 2020 edition of the IPL in the UAE owing to personal reasons. He was retained by CSK. "We put Moeen Ali up as an aggressor and also used Suresh's aggressive role to get to play some cricket and find some form. But after playing 2-3 boundaries, he really got going." Fleming said the way CSK made a comeback after losing early wickets is "a really positive sign for us."
"I liked the way we turned it on after losing wickets when the wicket was tacky. We got through that well. We just weren't able to create chances with the ball, which is really disappointing," he said.
CSK recovered from 7 for 2 in 2.1 overs to post 188 for 7 against Delhi Capitals. "It wasn't bad when you lose wickets a little bit early and still manage to get to 188, that's pretty good going. So the intent with the bat was pretty good," the CSK coach said.
"The conditions changed, dew and a little bit of rain made things difficult in the second innings. They played really well but 190 on this ground is still reasonably competitive, we just needed to bowl better."