CSK's Pathirana Doubtful for MI Clash, Fleming Praises Gaikwad

CSK's Pathirana Doubtful for MI Clash, Fleming Praises Gaikwad

Ahead of the highly anticipated Indian Premier League (IPL) clash between arch-rivals Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI), CSK head coach Stephen Fleming hinted that pacer Matheesha Pathirana could miss the game due to a minor injury.

Pathirana, who has been a key performer for CSK, has missed the team's previous two matches against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Fleming expressed optimism that Pathirana may be available for the MI game, but emphasized that the team would not rush him back if he is not fully fit.

"It (Pathirana's niggle) was not as bad as what we had thought, so we are very hopeful that if not tomorrow, then very close," Fleming said at a pre-match press conference. "We know the importance of him in games like this, but we will make sure he is 100 per cent in this form."

Fleming also praised CSK's new captain, Ruturaj Gaikwad, who he believes possesses similar qualities to former skipper MS Dhoni. "There is no difference (between Gaikwad and Dhoni). He is as cool as it gets," Fleming said. "He is cut from the same cloth, so that is rubbed through."

Fleming dismissed concerns about Gaikwad's "slow" strike rate, arguing that it needs to be put into context. "He is such an impressive young man around his game and what he needs to do," Fleming said. "He has been, I think, unfairly put into a bracket where he has been called slow. But you have to have context to some of these stats."

Fleming acknowledged that batting has evolved significantly in the IPL, but stressed the need for measures to help bowlers. "The two bouncers (rule) is one, and maybe we need to keep looking at other ways to do that," he said.

The CSK-MI rivalry is one of the most intense in the IPL, with both teams having won five titles each. Fleming expressed his excitement for the upcoming match. "We love it. We look forward to this fixture," he said. "Over the years it has developed into a really competitive rivalry, and it is based on two good teams playing successful brands of cricket."

Tags: #IPL, #CSK, #MI, #MatheeshaPathirana, #RuturajGaikwad

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