Chennai Super Kings have been struggling to find the perfect combination this season, team coach Stephen Fleming admitted after the Chennai franchise suffered their heaviest defeat on Friday by losing to Mumbai Indians by 10 wickets.
The M.S. Dhoni-led team, desperately looking for a win to stay in contention for a play-offs spot, decided to ring in changes for Friday’s match including sending an out-of-touch and inexperienced Ruturaj Gaikwad to open against the potent new ball attack of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah.
“Our opening pair has been a bit mixed. The reason why Gaikwad is there is because of (Imran) Tahir. We’ve got a problem there because our spin bowling has been a little bit ineffective. When you have one of the world’s best spinners, you are keen to introduce him,” said Fleming pointing to the troubles the franchise has faced in fielding South African Imran Tahir as one of its four overseas players.
CSK’s batting has struggled with not much depth in Indian talent. This has forced CSK to put Sam Curran, Shane Watson, and Faf du Plessis in the top three, leaving one overseas spot to be fought among all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, paceman Josh Hazlewood, leg-spinner Imran Tahir and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.
Bravo, because of his all-around skill-sets, was the obvious option in the early phase. When he got injured, CSK brought in Hazlewood to strengthen their relatively weak pace attack.
On Friday, CSK decided to drop Watson to introduce Tahir which meant that Gaikwad had to be pushed in to open the innings.
“The advice to Gaikwad was to find his feet. (But) we had a bad batting day. Sums up the entire tournament. Everything we tried, it has been the exact opposite of it. Today was a great example of it.”