“He Doesn’t Like…”: CSK CEO Reveals Chat With Stephen Fleming Over India Coach Job

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KS Viswanathan, the CEO of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), said they have always respected the decisions taken by the legendary MS Dhoni and that the decision on his future in the franchise has been left to him, which they expect will come at an appropriate time. The future of Dhoni, 42, as a CSK player has been a topic of immense speculation after CSK failed to enter the IPL 2024 playoffs following a 27-run loss to Royal Challengers Bengaluru in its must-win final league match, to finish in fifth place in the points table. “I do not know. It is a question only MS (Dhoni) can answer. We have always respected the decisions taken by MS. We have left it to him and as all of you know he has always taken his decisions and announced them at the appropriate time,” the CSK boss said.

“We do expect that we will get a decision as and when he decides. But we are very hopeful he’ll be available for CSK next year. That is the view and expectation of the fans and mine,” said Viswanathan in a video posted by the franchise on YouTube.

He also felt CSK’s long-serving head coach, former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming, won’t apply for the India men’s head coach job, whose deadline for applications is May 27. “Actually I got a lot of calls from the Indian journalists inquiring whether he is interested in taking a job with the Indian team.”

“So I jokingly asked him, ‘Have you applied for the Indian coaching assignment?’ And Stephen just laughed and said, ‘Do you want me to?’ I know that it’s not going to be his cup of tea because he doesn’t like to be involved for nine to 10 months in a year. That’s my feeling. I have not discussed anything more with him,” he added.

Just ahead of the IPL 2024 season, Dhoni handed over the leadership duties to opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, surprising many onlookers. Viswanathan revealed how the CSK management had discussed the leadership handover from Dhoni to Gaikwad.

“The discussions we had with the team management from before a couple of years ago when Ruturaj came into the CSK and started performing well, we felt that he would be a good choice to captain the side. Both Flem (Fleming) and MS (Dhoni) had long discussions with him, they had plans to make him as a future captain.”

“His performances, and also the way he approached the game, and his thoughts whenever he spoke with MS as well as Fleming… both of them felt that he’ll be a good captain at CSK. And we were not disappointed; he led the side comfortably. The seniors also helped him. It has not affected his performance with the bat. He has continued to be a very consistent performer,” he noted.

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Viswanathan observed that Gaikwad wasn’t affected by leadership duties and expressed gratitude to CSK fans for accepting the change in the side’s leadership.

“The pressure of captaincy has not affected him. We look forward to his contribution to CSK in the future. The pressure is too high because he’s following the footsteps of MS Dhoni.”

“Nobody can match him, but MS had the confidence that Rutu (Gaikwad) has it in him to do a very good job. The acceptance from the crowd really helped him for sure, that is for sure. Because if there is pressure from the crowd, you can imagine what happened to other captains,” he said.

“I think CSK fans accepted what MS Dhoni had given to Ruturaj as captain because he (Dhoni) had chosen him. The team management chose him as the captain. And all of you know, never has the management of CSK interfered with the cricketing matters.”

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“So, that helped Rutu also, because he was very clear that the instructions have come from team management. He had the responsibility to deliver. I’m confident he will do very well in the future years also.”

“Definitely, the CSK management, as well as the fans, have helped the CSK team to do very well. That is important because there is no interference in creating matters with the team. They are left with their job to do.”

“It adds more responsibility to the team. They know now there is not going to be interference from the management, which means they have to deliver. They are professionals; they have to deliver. That has helped us,” he concluded.

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