There is no secret recipe for leading a team into 12 playoffs in 14 seasons apart from choosing players who believe in “team first philosophy” and a co-operative management that stands through thick and thin, CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Saturday (May 20).
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Dhoni, who is probably playing the last of his 16 IPLs, has batted as low as no.8 and given chances to players like Shivam Dube to excel in a role assigned to him.
“There is no recipe as such (CSK’s play-offs record). You try to pick the best players and try to give them the best slot. You use them in the manner where they have most chances of succeeding and groom them in the areas where they are not as strong,” he said after CSK sealed their playoff berth in IPL 2023 with a massive 77-run win over DC in Delhi on Saturday.
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For Dhoni, it is imperative that his decisions reflect the team ethos that allows the players to believe in them.
“If you are doing whatever is best for the team, it falls into line. The management has been great, including the support staff. They always keep telling us to not worry and to keep doing what we have been doing. But of course, the players are also important.”
Dhoni also spoke his mind about the qualities he looks for in a player in his team.
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“You need someone who is always team-first. Those are the kind of characters you look for. From a distance, it is difficult to judge that.
“We want them (players) to adjust to the environment. Even if they try to come 10%, we are willing to go to 50% and meet them in the middle,” he said.
The World Cup-winning former India skipper was full of praise for the pace duo of Tushar Deshpande and Matheesha Pathirana, who have lived up to CSK’s expectations in the tournament.
“When it comes to death bowling, confidence is a very important factor. If you look at Tushar, he has developed that death-overs bowling. How many times you can execute under pressure is the main thing. When you are confident, you execute more often than not,” Dhoni said.
“Behind the scenes, a lot of work goes on and I feel the bowlers have taken the responsibility. Pathirana is quite a natural when it comes to bowling at the death so that is one less headache. The way Tushar has come around has been remarkable,” he added.