Fleming directive is to keep pushing the game forward: Hussey

IPL 2024

Rachin Ravindra, CSK's recent recruit, has walked in and bought into this culture of risk straightaway.

Batting coach Michael Hussey gave a peek into CSK's thought process as they started off the 2024 season on the same aggressive footing that they finished 2023 with. "It's definitely been a directive from Fleming to keep pushing the game forward," Hussey said after CSK smashed 206/6 in the 63-run victory over Gujarat Titans at home.

The idea to alter the way they bat after a forgettable season in 2022 coincided with the introduction of the impact player rule, that effectively gave all the teams an extra batter and bowler to operate with.

"We've got MSD at #8, which is crazy. MSD is batting really well at the moment as well," Hussey said, delving further into how this has changed the messaging given to the top-order. "Because we've got so much depth in resources, it means the players up the order, if they're in sort of two minds, take the positive route and they'll certainly have the backing from the coaches and the captain."

CSK saw instant results of this plan last season, as Devon Conway and Ruturaj Gaikwad set the tone early as CSK's PowerPlay strike rate of 9.35 was bettered only by Rajasthan Royals (9.40). CSK's idea of consolidating the flying start was to fly even higher through the middle-overs with designated spin hitters like Shivam Dube and Ajinkya Rahane. The high-risk cricket expected from the batters plying their trade without the luxury of a fielding restriction came with assurance.

"We prefer you to try and push the game forward as much as you can, and if you get out in doing so, it's fine, you'll never be criticised for that. Flem's talk is about playing fast," Hussey said.

Rachin Ravindra, CSK's recent recruit and their Conway replacement at least until May, has walked in and bought into this culture of risk straightaway. Against RCB, he took down the pace troika of Mohammed Siraj, Yash Dayal and Alzarri Joseph to smash a 15-ball 37. Against GT, he was brutal against Azmatullah Omarzai and Umesh Yadav in the PowerPlay, before falling to Rashid for a 20-ball 46.

"He's had a great start. He's been awesome to watch. He's just come here, full of energy, just wants to learn so much and make a positive impact on the team environment," Hussey said. "He is just enjoying it. He's trying to soak up as much knowledge as he possibly can and he really feeds off the crowds here as well.

"I think once he got a couple of good shots early, his confidence just grew and he believed that yeah I can perform on this stage and he's grown from there. I think he's gone out there with a clear mind and a nice positive attitude," Hussey added.