Fleming was blunt and forthright in his assessment of the team when he stated that they may have “run out of juice”.
“Looking at the table, it’s fair to say that this team may have run out of juice. If you look at it as a three-year cycle, we won the tournament in 2018 and made the final last year. We always thought that the third year will be difficult with an ageing group. And these conditions in the UAE have challenged us with a new set of requirements,” Fleming said at the post-match press conference.
While winning their remaining four matches would take CSK to seven wins and still give them a chance of making the playoffs, the CSK leadership seems downbeat about any such possibility. As Fleming said, there weren’t any positives from their performance on Monday to give them hope going forward.
“The mood in the camp is pretty down. We were thoroughly outplayed. You get hope and confidence moving forward when there are positives. There is an outside chance that we reach the playoffs, but when you are relying on other results and a change in form of your own team, it is very hard to be upbeat and positive,” the Kiwi coach felt.
Despite poor performances from some of the senior players, CSK have been stubborn in selecting the same players again and again without willing to give the younger players a chance. The selection of Kedar Jadhav over N Jagadeesan is a pertinent example. Jadhav has clearly been out of sorts but yet has continued to be favoured over Jagadeesan, who was discarded after just one match.
Dhoni, who has himself been below par this season, admitted that the criticism of not playing youngsters was fair but observed that he didn’t see a spark from them. But have the likes of Jagadeesan and Ruturaj Gaikwad been given enough opportunities to prove their mettle?
Now that they are all but out of the tournament, it seems like the fringe players will finally be given a chance. “We didn’t see as much spark from some of our youngsters. Maybe going forward, we bring them in and they play without pressure,” said Dhoni.
Fleming, too, suggested that they will give other players a chance with one eye towards rebuilding the team ahead of next season. “I think it’s fair that we give a chance to other players. We have got some players we want to have a look at. We need to make sure we are still engaged in the competition and also find out some good answers on the players we have got moving forward.”
Bravo confirmed to be out for two weeks: CSK confirmed on Tuesday that all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, who suffered a groin injury against Delhi Capitals last Saturday, will be out of action for two weeks. It reinforces the fact that Bravo will play no further part in the tournament unless CSK manage a dramatic entry into the playoffs.