KOLKATA: Rising Pune Supergiants coach Stephen Fleming on Friday said several factors contributed to team’s ordinary show in the Indian Premier League but backed under-fire captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Dhoni has been the centre of all the criticism and drew a lot of flak for not promoting himself up the batting and also underutilising his one-time trusted off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
“It’s true. But public take a lot of interest in fortunes of the teams so they can over analyse team’s performances, individual contribution. But it was a big challenge to bring another group together. You have to get to know people very quickly and not only that you have to get your combination right. How players perform,” Fleming said on the eve of their match against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Asked about the debate surrounding Ashwin who has not able to bowl his full quota of four overs quota in 10 of his last T20s, including five matches for Pune, Fleming said it was something to do with the conditions.
“If you take wickets at the top it allows our spinners to get into the game. We have not done that on some of the tracks. MS has been little reticent bringing the spinners in knowing the history against some of the players. Kohli is probably one who plays Ashwin very well,” he said about Ashwin who was introduced in the 17th over in their seven-wicket loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“He’s made some onfield calls about going to other areas of our attack. I know it causes much speculation. But believe me he is still highly valued in our side. He bowled beautifully in the last game when the conditions were right and he got 1/16. We know his talents, but conditions have often dictated. It certainly nothing more than that.”
He said leading India and Chennai Super Kings was a different story as he had a settled unit under his disposal.
“Having them worked together in a team is a much different dynamic. It’s been challenging. Probably the batting has been passable but we struggled a bit in bowling under different conditions. We had to work hard. When you’re captain looking to get everything out of your team, you push very hard. This is been a good challenge.”