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Deepak Chahar's injury not looking good, says CSK coach Stephen Fleming

It adds to CSK's woes who are already running thin on seam-bowling resources

Deivarayan Muthu
02-May-2024
Chennai Super Kings' depleting bowling stocks have disrupted their balance as they enter the business end of IPL 2024, their head coach Stephen Fleming has said.
Deepak Chahar, who had missed two games with a niggle earlier in this season, bowled just two balls on Wednesday evening against Punjab Kings before pulling up and leaving the field. While Shardul Thakur filled in for him and completed the over, Chahar didn't return. CSK were already without Matheesha Pathirana, who was out with a niggle and Tushar Deshpande, who didn't even travel to the ground because of flu.
While Fleming didn't specify the nature - and extent - of Chahar's injury, he suggested that early signs weren't promising.
"Yeah, the travel log is pretty busy," Fleming said after CSK lost to Punjab by seven wickets. "There's a lot of ins and outs. So, Deepak Chahar doesn't look good. The initial feeling wasn't great. So, I'm hoping for a more positive report when the physio and the doctor have a look."
The Sri Lankan pair of Pathirana and Maheesh Theekshana is also set to fly out to Colombo for visa work ahead of the T20 World Cup in the USA and the West Indies. CSK, though, are hopeful of having them back for their reverse fixture against PBKS in Dharamsala on May 5. Mustafizur Rahman's IPL stint, meanwhile, ended with Wednesday's match. He will now link up with the Bangladesh side for their home T20I series against Zimbabwe, which begins on May 3.
"The Sri Lankan boys are off to get their visas," Fleming said. "We're hoping that their process is smooth and we get them back for the next game up north. Richard Gleeson was good and it was a positive. Losing Fizz [Mustafizur] is disappointing, there's a lot happening isn't it?
"Tushar has a bit of flu going around as well. So we've had to make a few changes, which is unusual. Again, that's part of it and again we have got the resources. Just they haven't had the game time to be really comfortable with their roles and us to be comfortable with a game plan, which we're struggling with a little."
On his IPL debut, Gleeson, 36, swung the new ball both ways, and provided CSK with one of the three wickets they took on Wednesday. Gleeson also has yorkers and bouncers in his repertoire but beyond him and Pathirana, CSK don't have a specialist overseas seamer in their squad.
Former New Zealand fast bowler and ESPNcricinfo expert Mitchell McClenaghan suggested that left-arm fingerspinner Mitchell Santner could be an option for CSK when they come up against PBKS in round two on Sunday.
"Gleeson is a good new-ball bowler and can swing the ball both ways and had a little bit of zip and one hit Dhoni's gloves hard," McClenaghan said on Timeout, ESPNcricinfo's analysis show. "He was impressive in his first outing in the IPL in difficult conditions. So he is going to be good from there and it's what you do with the other spot. Mustafizur is gone. If Pathirana is out for more than one game, I would probably look at playing Mitchell Santner against Punjab. Because you can bowl him in the powerplay to Jonny Bairstow and Prabhsimran [Singh] and if you get Rilee Rossouw out, he will be a good operator in the middle."
Mukesh Choudhary, who has played just one competitive game since the start of 2023, and Simarjeet Singh, who hasn't played any competitive matches in that period, are among the Indian bowling options along with Maharashtra legspinner Prashant Solanki, who was on the subs bench for Wednesday's fixture.
Reshuffling of personnel aside, CSK rejigged their batting line-up against PBKS, with Daryl Mitchell, who had scored a half-century against Sunrisers Hyderabad from No. 3, sliding down to No. 8. CSK aimed to stem a collapse on a slow surface by slotting in Sameer Rizvi as Impact Player, replacing Ajinkya Rahane, but he laboured to 21 off 23 balls. At one point, CSK went 55 balls without a single boundary off the bat - the longest stretch this season, beating Gujarat Titans' 38 against Delhi Capitals. Fleming tried to make sense of those moves.
"The Dube factor is the one [reason]," Fleming said. "So if you get to six overs, that's the perfect time for him to come in. The next thing is with left-right [combination], we want [Ravindra] Jadeja, who has got a positive role as well, to come in and take them [the spinners] on as well. But they bowled well. The Rizvi one, we will discuss a little bit more, may go the other way around with that one but again he's positive and his ability to hit sixes in training has certainly been good. But there's a temperament part of that as well that young players need to learn. So we have got a bit of information from that.
"The casualty was Mitchell going down the order. What we learnt from the first part of the tournament was if it goes too low, there are other players - Moeen Ali and MS [Dhoni] - who can push the game along. So the window closes there but it was very much getting the tactics right for what we wanted to do in the middle. And that was to break their spinners up but they won that competition."

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo