Chennai Super Kings have never had a worse start to their IPL campaign than the one they have made in 2022. After their fourth loss in as many games, talks have already started about what the defending champions need to do to stay alive in the tournament.
Eventually, he cut it short: “I think it’s clear. Batting, bowling and fielding is what we need to work on. And moving forward we improve batting, bowling and fielding.”
That reflects in the margins of defeats as well. Before their latest drubbing, Super Kings had lost two games by six wickets and one by 54 runs. In a tournament where dew has played a vital role, losing three out of four tosses hasn’t helped either.
According to Fleming, not even getting close to winning has affected the self-belief of the side.
“Probably each facet [of the game] is a concern, if not at one stage then altogether,” Fleming said. “We were well outplayed today. We’re sort of learning. We’ve got some issues around player availability, and in some areas a little bit underpowered, that we’re just looking for players to step up. So we’ve got some learning to do still around our players and our squad.
“And we haven’t had any evidence that sort of helps the belief. We are not winning any games. Not being close to winning any games, you get a bit of self-doubt, and the players get a little bit niggly. So we just got to work through that pretty quickly and try to find some rhythm and get back in the tournament.”
“We’re sort of learning. We’ve got some issues around player availability, and in some areas a little bit underpowered, that we’re just looking for players to step up”
Fleming on CSK’s poor season so far
Super Kings were dealt a blow even before the tournament started. Deepak Chahar, their powerplay specialist whom they bought for a massive INR 14 crore (approx. US$ 1.86 million) at the mega auction, suffered a quadricep tear during the third T20I against West Indies in Kolkata. He is yet to recover.
Then, Adam Milne picked up a niggle against Knight Riders in the opening game of the tournament. It’s not clear if he is available for selection.
“Deepak is a loss but if I could summarise, it’s probably batting, bowling and a little bit of fielding – it’s pretty much everything,” Fleming said when asked to specify which area they are lacking in.
“But it’s just pressure, we’re just not getting ourselves in positions to pressurise the opposition and we’re just coming a distant second. So this can be small margins and it takes one or two good performances and then you get a bit of belief and a bit of evidence that you’re an okay side and away you go. But at the moment, we look a long way away from that.”
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo