Stephen Fleming to open against Daredevils
Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming will open the innings with Parthiv Patel for Chennai Super Kings when they clash with Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament match here Friday.
According to coach Kepler Wessels, the Kiwi opener will replace Matthew Hayden, who along with fellow-Australian Mike Hussey, left for home to join the national team to prepare for the tour of the West Indies.
Wessels said despite the loss of Hussey and Hayden, the Super Kings did not suffer much in terms of talent and that Fleming was a good replacement along with South Africans Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel.
“Fleming will open tomorrow. We, of course, knew that the Australians would be returning home and had a plan in place. I think the replacements are very good, but we will decide on the playing XI closer to the start of the game,” said Wessels at a press conference here Thursday evening.
Regarding seamer Manpreet Gony, who is said to be indisposed, Wessels said a final decision on his selection would be made after Thursday night’s practice session.
The coach indicated that the Super Kings had more or less decided on the eleven. “There is only one vacancy, but we will finalise tomorrow,” he said.
With Fleming and Patel to open, the Super Kings have a strong and deep line-up. The openers will be followed by Suresh Raina, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Subramaniam Badrinath, leaving vacancies for five bowlers.
Ntini and Morkel are likely to share the new ball and they would be supported by Gony, Palani Amarnath, Joginder Sharma and Muttaiah Muralitharan. However, Wessels did not rule out a change depending on the conditions and Gony’s fitness Friday.
The coach also discounted the inclusion of former India seamer Lakshmipathi Balaji, who is on a comeback trail following a stress fracture. Wessels categorically stated that Balaji was not yet match fit and hence will not be playing.
Wessels pointed out that the Delhi Daredevils boasted a strong opening pair in skipper Virender Sehwag and in-form Gautam Gambhir, besides a very efficient bowling attack spearheaded by Glenn McGrath.
“McGrath is a very experienced player. He might have retired but he is still very good. This is something we have to deal with,” he said.
Meanwhile, Morkel, who made his IPL debut against Bangalore Royal Challengers this week, said he would try to replicate Oram’s role as an opening bowler and late-order batsman.
“I have played in the World Cup last year and so I am aware that things happen pretty quickly in T20. I am looking forward to establishing myself here,” he said.