IPL 2013: CSK coach Stephen Fleming hints at Murali Vijay's return for Saha's injury

Murali Vijay on Saturday was included in the 15-member squad for ICC Champions trophy © AFP

Mumbai: May 4, 2013

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming on Saturday said wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha is carrying injuries and his fitness will be assessed before the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) game against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

“He is carrying a little bit of an injury, so whether [Murali] Vijay comes back in would depend on Saha’s fitness now,” he said at the pre-match media conference.

Fleming, who did not specify the nature of Saha’s injury, explained that Vijay had hurt his finger and that was the reason he was not included in the playing XI in the last three games.

“He hurt his finger and we thought it was broken at that time and he played for a game or so with a lot of discomfort.

We felt it was better for him to have a period of time out as he did, and give the finger a chance to rest. In the meantime, another good player in Saha took this opportunity, and that is the nature of IPL. Saha was in good form and it is his place at the moment,” the New Zealander said.

Vijay on Saturday was picked in the 15-member Indian squad for next month’s ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled to be held in England, and Fleming said the IPL has no bearing on a player’s selection.

“The IPL selections have no real bearing on internationals. So don’t think that you can look at the form during an IPL as huge bearing on the talents of a player or the role that he plays for his country. It is pretty much a snapshot, here and now, to get the job done [seeing] who is in form, who is not.

“What we have done in the past has been very conservative selection policy and we will continue to do that. In this instance, Vijay was hurt and Saha took his opportunity,” the former Kiwi captain added while replying to a question on how Vijay has found a place in the Indian squad after losing his spot in the CSK‘s playing XI.

Fleming also praised Haryana medium-pacer Mohit Sharma, who has been impressive with 11 scalps in eight matches at an average of 14.81, and said he has been a find for them.

“We saw four of these guys. We got four new seamers that joined us. And they are all very talented. Mohit Sharma, with his attitude and demeanour, is a very nice guy, very calm guy and that fits in well with the way we operate.

“His performances, I won’t say has exceeded, but they are at a level where we are happy with what he has done. I think he is talented. He is a pretty good allrounder as well, he just doesn’t get the opportunity [to bat] in the side. But his fielding and bowling to date have been really important to our success. He has been a good find,” said Fleming.

Chennai are leading the table with 18 points from 11 matches and have come up with a IPL record-equalling seven-match winning streak. Fleming said it has been a good run but the side was not complacent.

“It is a good run. It’s a little bit different to the other campaigns we have been part of, where we have been a bit of stop and start. We have been very consistent this year. We haven’t been, I would say, dominant. But we have been out of wood in games and that is just as important as being a form side playing well in every department.

“We still have got our challenges. Within the side, we know we need to get better. And in some ways that’s driving us forward, [by] looking for that perfect performance. We are comfortable as a team, but by no means are we complacent or satisfied with where we are at,” he said.

Fleming added that the team, led astutely by MS Dhoni, has been constantly making subtle fielding changes in order to give them an edge.

“I have noticed some real subtle changes in the last two or three games that we played. If you look at some of our fields that have been set, they have been quite different, subtle, but really different. I can tell you we are finding the right fields for different bowlers at certain stages of the match.

“I think there are still areas to move, there are still areas to explore and [we have] got a captain that is willing to explore. Some of them, we didn’t even know existed, come up with our captain, so it keeps you on your toes and as soon as you stop being innovative then you fall behind.

“We are working very hard to try and find that edge and make sure that our fields reflect the tactics we try and use.

It is a lot more subtle than what it was two to three years ago,” he said.

Mumbai have been dominant at home and Fleming said the two teams have been involved in quite a few close matches.

“Games in Mumbai are quite special for our players enjoy coming here and playing. Especially Chennai and Mumbai have a little bit of history already. They have hard-fought good games and Mumbai had the better of us. So we are very determined to play well here,” he said.

“It is a few teams like that. We had that tag for a while as well. I think it’s great if there is home and away advantage/disadvantage. It really adds to the competition when you go away when it’s a tough game with a tough crowd, the conditions, that makes the victory — if you can achieve it — that much better.

“We are very proud of the way last year and this year we have made a real effort to be good travellers. The majority of the Indian players in our side know these grounds pretty well but in terms of crowd support and parochialism towards your home team, I love it.”