Chennai captain Mahendra Dhoni is expecting big runs from his batsmen across the Super Kings’ 2011 Indian Premier League campaign, which starts with a tough encounter against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday.
Having retained the hefty-hitting services of Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and Albie Morkel, the defending champions added even more firepower by buying back Michael Hussey and Subramaniam Badrinath at this year’s player auction.
“We have Vijay to start off, and Badrinath, me, Raina, Albie, Faf du Plessis. Scott Styris is an all-rounder and then there is Michael Hussey. So I think we have quite a few players who can get runs when it matters,” insisted Dhoni.
The Chennai franchise lost spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji to Kochi and Kolkata respectively, while New Zealand star Tim Southee was recently added to their ranks to bolster the bowling resources, which are currently depleted by the injuries of Doug Bollinger and Dwayne Bravo.
“Muralitharan is a great cricketer, a very good influence in the dressing room, with plenty of ideas. We’ll definitely miss him. We’ll also miss Balaji,” added Dhoni.
“The new team is very good. But I have always maintained it’s not about how good the team looks on paper, but how we’re doing on the field. If everyone is fit and all 24 players are available for selection, it’s a very good side.”
Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming, meanwhile, is looking forward to Raina, Muralitharan and company cashing in on their recent performances in the World Cup across the sub-continent. India, with Dhoni at their helm, claimed glory in the ODI showpiece with a convincing win over Sri Lanka in Saturday’s final in Mumbai.
“With most of our players being in action during the World Cup, lack of match practice will not be an issue. Playing the best teams in the world and on our home grounds is the best build-up any player could hope for. We are quietly confident of our prospects,” concluded Fleming. Cricket365