Chennai Super Kings eyeing IPL camp in UAE from early August

Agencies
August 1, 2020

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Bengaluru, Aug 1: Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are aiming to set up their preparatory camp for the 13th edition of the tournament from early August.

This year's IPL was slated to commence from March 29 but the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently, the IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel had confirmed that the 13th edition of the mega event will commence on September 19 in the UAE.

As per a report in ESPNcricinfo, CSK players have been asked to report to Chennai first, following which they will leave for Dubai via a charter flight only after approval from the Indian government.

The IPL Governing Council will meet on August 2 to finalise the schedule and other key arrangements for the tournament. Also, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) around securing eight teams for 51 days across three venues will be formally established in that meeting.

CSK, who has the oldest squad in the IPL, are looking for a month's preparation before ahead of the tournament.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the side was the first team to start their training camp in March. Senior players like Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu had begun training their training in December 2019.

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News Network
September 7,2020

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Dubai, Sept 7: Virat Kohli has been able to "disconnect" from the underwhelming seasons that he and Royal Challengers Bangalore have endured in the IPL and there is a welcome "sense of calm" as he prepares to lead the side this year, something he last felt in 2016.

Despite the presence of champion players like Kohli and AB de Villiers, RCB, in the last three seasons, has failed to even qualify for the play-offs. The team last played the final in 2016, a season in which Kohli struck an unprecedented four hundreds.

"The 2016 IPL, we all loved to be a part of (it). Since then, this is the most balanced I have felt about (the) squad," the Indian skipper said on RCB's Youtube show 'Bold Diaries', sharing his thoughts on the upcoming edition starting September 19 in the UAE.

Kohli said that both he and AB de Villiers feel that this could be the "breakthrough season" when tables will turn for the franchise which has flattered to deceive on many occasions.

"I (have) never felt so calm going into a season before. He (ABD) is coming from a very different space and he is enjoying his life and is very relaxed and fit as ever. I feel I am in a much better space, much more balanced, when it comes to environment of (the) IPL," the straight speaking RCB skipper said.

This is the first time he feels that he isn't carrying any baggage.

"Disconnecting with things that have happened in the past and not taking that baggage, as we have done that way too many times," he responded to a query on what has changed for him this season.

"Just because we have a bunch of players that are so skilled, people like seeing them play is the reason people have had so much expectation as well."

Kohli also feels that Mike Hesson being roped in as the head of coaching staff is a great move as the former New Zealand in-charge can act as a bridge between "management and players".

"They (RCB owners) have had a great balance of knowing when to have a conversation and (also) knowing at times 'okay these guys (players) know what the are doing'," he said.

"...the reason they got someone like Mike (Hesson) (as they know) that he can be a mediator. Communication is very nicely designated this time. I feel they (owners) are taking their responsibility and we as players will take our responsibility as usual.

"I believe we won't be overburdened this time around which is a great thing to know," Kohli added.

Despite their not-so-great show as a team, the faith of the top management is the reason why the skipper said he can focus on cricketing things.

"They have right to come and speak if they have any concerns and have constructive conversations which are absolutely welcome," he said.

Kohli said adding to his confidence is the presence of South African pacer Chris Morris, Australian white-ball skipper Aaron Finch and his unknown compatriot Josh Philippe, a 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman.

"Morris brings in a lot of balance. Aaron Finch is someone who has experience of playing international cricket for a while. Some of the youngsters we have picked this time are quite exciting too like Josh Philippe, a very exciting player," the skipper said.

IPL will be played across three venues this season -- Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The tournament has been moved out of India due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kohli believes three venues close to each other is the sort of arrangement that makes life easy for players, who are mostly left "packing a small little bag for a two-match or three-match trip and then come back."

"It gets hectic, conditions change...This time, it's more of a level playing field and everything would now boil down to skill level rather than home advantage, which has been a thing in the past," he said.

"We have unpacked all bags and stacked clothes in the wardrobe. We go, practice, live in our own bio-bubble. It's a more settled and calm feeling," he concluded.

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Agencies
September 19,2020

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Mumbai, Sept 19: Ahead of the much-anticipated clash against Chennai Super Kings in the opening game of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be played on Saturday evening at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma has said that he enjoys playing against the MS Dhoni-led side but is never "overawed" by them.

The two most successful teams in the IPL have faced each other 28 times with MI holding an edge over CSK as they have won 17 games and lost 11.

"Playing against CSK is always fun, we enjoy that battle. But when we play the game, it is just another opposition for us and that is how we want to move forward and not get overawed by the opposition," Rohit said in a video posted by Mumbai Indians on their official Twitter handle.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya feels it is a clash between the two most loved teams of the tournament.

"It has become a game which people look forward to. MI and CSK are the two franchises that are most loved by the fans and that's how it (clash) has become special," said Hardik.

"I don't now, we all will get our A-game out when we are playing against CSK and I wish we always do that," he added.

In their last meeting in the 2019 IPL final, Mumbai Indians had won the match by one run to clinch the title for a record fourth time.

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News Network
September 11,2020

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Former New Zealand all-rounder Scott Styris feels Ambati Rayudu is the ideal candidate to bat at number three for Chennai Super Kings after Suresh Raina's pullout from the upcoming IPL.

Weeks before the start of the 13th edition of the league, Raina pulled out abruptly citing personal reasons, his decision coming in the wake of the 13 positive cases of COVID-19 in the CSK unit. IPL starts on September 19.

"Personally, I'd put Rayudu in there to take that spot," Styris said on Star Sports show 'Cricket Connected'.

Styris acknowledged that Raina's absence has left a huge void in the CSK middle-order and that it is not going to be easy to find a substitute for the seasoned left-handed batsman who last month retired from international cricket.

"...a player of that class, a player who has been so good for so long. To suddenly finds those runs, even in the field and the odd over as well with the ball, is going to be a big task.

"I know that the CSK squad is deep, they've got a lot of options at the top, but I also believe that as much as the pressure is now on to find that No. 3, it's just probably the most challenging time that I can look for anyway for CSK.

"And in particular, the leadership of this group – I think with (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and Stephen Fleming – it's up to them now to bring the group together, now that they have lost Raina and Harbhajan (Singh)."

Under Dhoni's leadership, CSK will be looking to win their fourth IPL title and draw level with Mumbai Indians.

Moved out of India due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the IPL will be held in the three cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE from September 19 to November 10.

On CSK, Styris added, "Couple of options they could go with, the two overseas players at the top and bring in the youngster Gaekwad as well or they may decide to have a pitch-hitter."

Speaking about the team's possible bowling combination in the absence of the veteran Harbhajan Singh, who too withdrew due to personal reasons, former India seamer Ajit Agarkar said CSK has a lot of options in the spin department.

"...that kind of experience, quality that you lose, it is going to be a loss, but I think CSK have a lot more cover in that department at least as far as spin is concerned," Agarkar said.

"They have got Piyush Chawla as well that they have brought in. This year they have got (Imran) Tahir, (Mitchell) Santner, so they have got enough spin.

"...And they will be hoping that the conditions are in their favour what they get in Chennai, which is a little bit of turn, then those spinners come into play."

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