"CSK team meeting before the IPL finals lasted just five seconds," says MS Dhoni
What's the story?
In a tournament like the IPL where every ball of the game is dissected minutely by captains, coaches, and even team owners, CSK is a team where a player is told to "just enjoy himself" even after a defeat. Before the final of even an inter-school tournament, you'd expect the coach to draw up a strategy, a captain to come up with an inspiring speech, something that would spice up a team meeting.
However, if captain cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni is to be believed, CSK's team meeting before the 2018 IPL final against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, which they won by eight wickets riding on a brilliant hundred by Aussie veteran Shane Watson, took all of five seconds.
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CSK, who were ridiculed following this year's mega-auction, made a remarkable comeback riding on the wealth of experience they strode out to pick. While Dhoni turned the clock back through some vintage knocks, there were other players who'd been a part of the CSK core in the past who did well. It was this familiarity that probably helped the team most, in coming along well, as per the skipper.
The team finished second in the group stages, winning nine out of fourteen matches, and then advanced to the Qualifier 1 and then the final, winning the title eventually by defeating SRH on both occasions. CSK were also the only team this IPL to have defeated all the other teams at least once. This was also CSK's seventh final appearance in the nine seasons they played, and Dhoni's eighth (one time with Rising Pune Supergiants).
There's a certain calm about the Chennai Super Kings' dressing room that powers their team in the high-pressure world of the IPL and could perhaps be the reason behind their third IPL triumph last month.
"I think at that point of time, we were quite relaxed about how we'd conducted ourselves throughout the tournament. And everybody's role and responsibilities were very clear. So, you need to address something if it really needs to be addressed. You know, there's no point, just because if there's a captain and a coach of the team, you've to say something," Dhoni said at an event on Monday, June 11. "The team meeting that we had, lasted hardly five seconds. Coach Stephen Fleming was like: 'Go, get it boys.' And it got over."
"We don't have a long list of meetings. We don't have too many meetings because we've played so long each with other, against each other, you know the conditions so well, you exactly know how you need to operate. And there's no rocket science," Dhoni added.
"Yes, we have the bowlers' meetings, the batters' meeting, and I don't become a part of the batters' meeting. A lot of times, people do it because they need to tick a box. And in CSK, there's no justification that happens... you know that the bowling coach doesn't need to justify to the owners."
In a lighter tone, the CSK skipper revealed that the only time his team held a meeting was before the match against Kings XI Punjab during the league stages, in Mohali, and on that occasion, Chris Gayle blew them away with a blazing hundred.
"We had a bowler's meeting you know before Gayle hit that century. A lot of times, it happens that you do it for the sake of doing it. But we try to keep it as simple as possible. What's important as a coaching staff, or as a captain, you need to give advice to a player according to what they can achieve. You've to give feedback according to what a player's strength is and he's to improve his weak areas." Dhoni explained.
MSD is all set to leave for the two-match T20I series against Ireland, to be held on 27th and 29th June at Dublin. He will also feature in the tour of England, playing three ODIs and three T20Is between July 3rd and July 17th. With the 2019 World Cup coming up in less than a year, it will be a fitting achievement for India's greatest wicketkeeper if he can lift the trophy another time.