After Jadhav, CSK sweat over du Plessis’ fitness

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk:South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is not yet ready to play the IPL as he has a slight side strain and a small fracture in a finger and is expected to be ready for the game in Mohali (on April 15 vs Kings XI Punjab), Chennai Super Kings batting coach Michael Hussey said.

“I believe Faf is not in full training at the moment. He is recovering from a slight side strain. And he also has a small fracture in his one of his fingers. He is going to be ramping up his training in the next seven days. He is hopeful to be available for selection in the next game against Mohali, the CSK batting coach said

Another player, all rounder Kedar Jadhav has been ruled out of the IPL, after sustaining a hamstring pull, a grade two tear, in the tournament opener against MI, which Chennai Super Kings won by one wicket.

Hussey was addressing a pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s game against Kolkata Knight Riders here.

Asked why Ambati Rayudu was chosen to open in the MI game ahead of Murali Vijay, a regular opener, Hussey said Vijay had suffered a knock during the early part of the training, was recovering and would be available for selection.

“From what I understand, M Vijay got a bit of a knock in his ribs. He has been quite sore actually and is slowly working his way back to full fitness. There are always 50-50 calls that can go either way. And sometimes the gut feel of the captain and coach.”

“Rayudu is playing really well. He has obviously played for India and done very well as well. But M Vijay is batting nicely as well. So, it is a nice headache I guess for the coach and captain to have.”

“Vijay… Yeah he is fine, he is ready to go. He is certainly available to be picked,” Hussey said.

Asked what he thought of the Chepauk wicket, Hussey said he expected the spinners to play a bit of a part in the game.

“It looks good. Yeah, it is a little on the dry side. I expect spinners from both sides to play a bit of a part. In general looks like a nice pitch and should be a good spectacle for everyone,” he added.

He played down talk on worries over the middle-order for tomorrow’s game in the light of the failure of some batsmen in the Mumbai Indians game and also all rounder Kedar Jadhav’s injury, resulting in him being ruled out of the IPL.

Jadhav sustained a hamstring pull, a grade two tear, in the tournament opener against MI, which Chennai Super Kings won by one wicket.

“Losing Kedar is a big loss. He is a class player. He was coming back from an injury and unfortunately got injured again. It is a big hole to fill. Numbers.1, 2, 3, 4 need to take the responsibility and score the bulk of the runs.We lost key wickets at the end of the power play. But we have the players to do be able to do it. We have to play s smart cricket,” he added.

Hussey also said it would not essentially be a battle between youth and experience and added that the the team executes skills best under pressure on the day would win.

“I don’t think so. They have some quality players. It is a very good spin bowling team. They have also got some match winners there as well. Guys like Chris Lynn and Andre Russell in particular. They can win a match of their own bat or the ball,” Hussey said.

He said the best teams generally have some good experienced players. “It comes down, in my mind, which team can execute the skills best under pressure. I think we have got from both teams some highly skilled players and we should see a quality contest,” he added.

Both Williamson and Rahane have big shoes to fill that of seasoned campaigners David Warner and Steve Smith, who were  banned by Cricket Australia and IPL for 1 year for their involvement in ball tampering.

The Sunrisers have gone for Shakib Al Hasan, Rashid Khan, Billy Stanlake along with captain Williamson as their four overseas players.

Rajasthan on the other hand have gone D’arcy Short, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Ben Laughlin.

“We also wanted to bowl but the toss isn’t in anyone’s control. So looking forward to set a good total on board and later defend it down. We have got some good preparations back home and his boys are excited about this game,” says Rajasthan captain Rahane.

“Excited to lead the team. We have a fairly new side from previous years. Hope we start well with the ball in hand,” says Williamson.

While both teams have some exciting players on their ranks, all eyes will be on IPL’s most expensive player Ben Stokes (12.5 crores) and Afghanistan’s 19-year-old leggie Rashid Khan.

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