LSG vs CSK: "Not Ruturaj Gaikwad, MS Dhoni is the heartbeat of CSK.."- Head Coach openly insults CSK captain

Updated - 20 Apr 2024, 01:02 PM

Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni
Stephen Fleming and MS Dhoni. Image Credit: BCCI-IPL

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming hailed MS Dhoni’s batting performance in the ongoing IPL 2024 as “inspirational” and stressed that they are not really surprised by what the legendary wicketkeeper-batter is doing in the tournament with the bat.

Fleming’s statement came after 42-year-old Dhoni hammered an unbeaten knock of 28 runs off nine deliveries, laced with three fours and two sixes, to take Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to 176/6 in 20 overs against Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) in the 34th IPL 2024 match in Lucknow.

The former skipper came to bat in the final delivery of the 18th over and entertained the crowd with his power-hitting at the Ekana Cricket Stadium on Friday, April 19. However, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) chased down the target in 19 overs to hand Chennai their third loss of the season.

Stephen Fleming hails MS Dhoni’s inspirational performance in the IPL 2024

After the LSG vs CSK match, Fleming lauded Dhoni’s inspirational batting performance at the post-match press conference. The CSK head coach mentioned that the legendary wicketkeeper’s batting this year, even in training, has been very crisp.

Fleming also said that the CSK team is not surprised by Dhoni’s power-packed performance in the ongoing IPL 2024 since his skill level during the pre-season was very high. The coach also acknowledged his previous struggles with knee issues, hinting that despite the recovery, he continues to deliver within certain limitations.

Meanwhile, the CSK coach admitted that the fans and even the team want to see Dhoni for a longer time on the field with the bat, but they can’t push him since the defending champions want him to play till the end of the ongoing IPL 2024. So, they are adopting a 'two-three-over' approach for him.

Fleming stated, “I think everyone wants to see him for longer as we do but that amount of time is about right. We need him for the tournament and that 2-3 over cameo he owns that space. It's up to the rest of the batting unit to get us to a good position where he can push us over the top. He is doing that pretty much every time at the moment which is great to watch.”

We are incredibly proud that MS is in our team: Fleming

He further expressed admiration for Dhoni's significant influence on the team, describing the electric atmosphere whenever he takes the field to entertain as “amazing and exhilarating." He said that they feel immense pride in Dhoni's achievements, both with Indian cricket and CSK, and the way he receives affection and love from fans across the world.

Fleming signed off by saying, “We are incredibly proud that he is a part of our side and is pretty much the heartbeat of the side. We thoroughly enjoy it. We know we are beneficiaries of the career that he has had and is having. We enjoy every minute of it.”

Notably, despite the defeat against LSG, CSK remains in the third spot in the IPL 2024 points table with 8 points from 7 games so far in the tournament. CSK’s next IPL 2024 match is against the LSG on April 23, but they will meet at the M Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.