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IPL 2014: Chennai Super Kings distracted by off-field events, says Stephen Fleming

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Stephen Fleming has been CSK’s long-term coach © Getty Images

Dubai: Apr 14, 2014

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) coach Stephen Fleming conceded to experiencing off-field “distractions” going into the Indian Premier League (IPL) 7 season because of the controversies surrounding the team but hoped that his side would settle down once the tournament begins.

“There’s a lot going on, I won’t lie. There are a lot of distractions (leading up to the tournament). I think we were all uncertain about how it was going to play out,” Fleming said.

“We were desperate to get back into the fold of the team.

It has only been six years but a lot has happened. It’s nice to get back into a team environment, where you’re somewhat cocooned, and get a bit more info. All we can do is try and be consistent again but yes, it [controversy] is there, we acknowledge it.”

The franchise has been on shaky ground ever since one of their officials, Gurunath Meiyappan, also the son-in-law of Board of Control for Indian in India (BCCI) president N Srinivasan — the vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements, the company that owns CSK — was arrested on charges of cheating, forgery and fraud two days before the IPL 2013 final, amid the spot-fixing scandal.

The Supreme Court, while hearing a case related to Srinivasan’s conflict of interest issues, proposed suspending the franchise last month, but decided against it in the end.

Fleming said getting together as a team could act as a balm for the players’ nerves.

“Getting back into the team environment is the most important thing. We’ll touch on the controversies (in team talks), if we think it’s an issue. But I think most players are pretty relieved to be back and playing together.”

Speaking about the changes in the team this season, Fleming said, “I think there are some pretty powerful additions to the side. Some new tools to play around with this season. There has been a shift in that we’ve lost a great player in Michael Hussey, but we’ve gone for some power players that on their day can win games.

“We’ve learnt a lot in the last six years. The players we’ve picked have quality and experience, these guys have done it before. Smith, in particular, has done it before for Mumbai. [Brendon] McCullum’s the same — he didn’t have much of a go at KKR, but we’re looking forward to getting him an opportunity.

Overall I know we’ve got a good side because the Indian core of players is dynamic.”

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