Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming has explained the reason behind the franchise training in Surat ahead of IPL 2022.
The league stage of the 15th edition of the T20 competition will be played across four venues in Maharashtra - three in Mumbai and one in Pune - starting on March 26.
Most franchises have already reached Mumbai and have set up nets in and around their luxury hotels. But CSK, who were the first to start training, are at the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium in Surat, making use of open nets and playing practice matches.
Fleming said other IPL teams training in Mumbai was a 'challenge' for them. He said Surat offers similar soil and climate conditions to Mumbai, while having an entire ground to themselves is an added benefit.
In a video interview uploaded by the franchise, he said:
"It's good. They've been training well for the last week so it's nice to join them finally. It's good to be out in good facilities... The challenge obviously in Mumbai [is] that all teams are training there."
"So we felt coming to Surat and having conditions similar in terms of the red soil and also the climate. It's not too far away and is similar to what Mumbai would be. But to have this ground to ourselves and be able to have open wickets and long net sessions have been very valuable."
CSK will begin their title defense against the team they defeated in the IPL 2021 final - Kolkata Knight Riders. The match will be played at the iconic Wankhade Stadium on March 26.
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CSK full squad for IPL 2022
MS Dhoni (C), Moeen Ali, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Bravo, Robin Uthappa, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Tushar Deshpande, Shivam Dube, Maheesh Theekshana, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Simarjeet Singh, Devon Conway, Dwaine Pretorius, Mitchell Santner, Adam Milne, Subhranshu Senapati, Mukesh Choudhary, Prashant Solanki, C Hari Nishaanth, N Jagadeesan, Chris Jordan, K Bhagath Varma.