Chennai Super Kings (CSK) may be playing its 10th Indian Premier League final, against Gujarat Titans (GT) here on Sunday, but head coach Stephen Fleming admitted that there were still a few butterflies in the stomach.
“It is a big occasion. The game doesn’t change but the outcome does,” Fleming said on Saturday.
“It is hard not to look too far ahead and dream of winning it again. It is what we set out to do at the start. That is our purpose.”
“We are just trying to contain that excitement and stay in the present. That is one of the great challenges. Gujarat is an excellent side, the most consistent this season, and we can’t afford to dream too much.
“But this is why we are here and the nerves of the big stage just simmer away. It is a good thing to have. It is just about how you work with it and sink into the game.”
This season in Chennai, CSK has had to deal with tricky pitches, and Fleming said that had made the four-time champion a better side.
“[In the past] we geared ourselves up so well for Chennai that we struggled in different conditions. The finals were always a bit of a challenge and our record is about 50% in winning them.
“This year we are a bit more rounded and we had to be because of that reason [playing in Chennai]. I wanted to bowl in the last qualifying game (vs. Delhi Capitals) but batting proved to be the right call. In that last game (vs. GT), MS [Dhoni] was that way. So we were well off the mark in trying to get the conditions right.
“But the team is rounded enough, and come the final, we are not as worried about what conditions we are going to get. We are a lot better placed than we have been in the past.”