Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians, IPL final, Kolkata May 25, 2013

'More pressure on the side' - Fleming

ESPNcricinfo staff

Just like the administrators, big India players stayed away from making any contact with the media. On the eve of the IPL final, both sides sent out their coaches, and Michael Hussey, to address the delegation, a task traditionally handled by the teams' captains. Stephen Fleming, the Super Kings coach, was quite frank in admitting the side was under extra pressure with the controversy engulfing the IPL.

This press conference was a day after Super Kings' former team principal, Gurunath Meiyappan, was arrested by the Mumbai Police for investigations into alleged betting. Fleming started by reading a prepared statement, insisting the players were not aware of any wrongdoings, and were playing to the best of their ability.

"The players and support staff are distressed by the allegations and news reports against the CSK franchise, the IPL and Indian cricket," Fleming read out. "We have played every match to the best of our ability, and we are very proud of our record of having appeared in the playoff stage of all six seasons of the IPL.

"The players and support staff have no knowledge of either the betting, or the separate spot-fixing allegations. As difficult as it is, all our focus is on appearing in the final tomorrow."

Fleming didn't deny the existence of the crisis. "It is a great record so far but we are up against a very good side in Mumbai," Fleming said. "We have had some great battles against them this year.

"I guess one of the other issues is what was involved in the statement. That puts more pressure on the side, but we welcome that. Chennai are a side that has risen through a lot of challenges. We are very proud to have come this far. We are very much looking forward to a big final."

Hussey, the leading run-getter this IPL season, was asked what role he played as a senior player in this situation. "We are just trying to focus on the game," he said. "There is a lot of stuff going on in the periphery, and there can be distractions, but from a player's point of view it is important we focus on our game and come out and give our best performance. If we can do that, we give ourselves a good chance to win.

"The boys will be very excited to get on the ground tomorrow and put all the controversies behind us. I think it is going to be a fantastic match. It is a fitting finale for a great tournament."