WTC Final Countdown – Playing in overseas conditions has given me a lot of confidence: Shubman Gill | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Talented young batsman Shubman Gill has been in sensational form with the bat recently. Following an impressive performance in the recently-concluded Indian Premier League season 16, the 23-year-old is now set to carry his good form into the eagerly-awaited World Test Championship (WTC) Final against Australia. The match is scheduled to commence on June 7 at the Oval.
Considered to be an all-formats superstar in the making, Shubman, while playing for the Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023, displayed his dominance by smashing three centuries and emerging as the highest run-scorer of the tournament. Shubman signed off the tournament with a total of 890 runs at an average of 59.33 under his belt.
Shubman in fact became the first batsman to score centuries in Tests, ODIs, T20Is and in the IPL in the same calendar year.

Considering his recent scintillating form, Shubman is expected to fire on all cylinders when he opens Team India‘s batting alongside captain Rohit Sharma.
Shubman was also part of the Indian team that lost the inaugural World Test Championship final to New Zealand by eight wickets in Southampton in 2021. He contributed with 28 and 8 in the WTC final and will be itching to better those statistics.

“The experience in red ball cricket has been phenomenal. I have learned a lot with time and will keep learning. I have played around 15 Tests so far. Most of those Tests have been outside India. Playing overseas has given me a lot of confidence. The experience has been really great. You get to know different conditions, you get to play on different tracks, be it bouncy, spin-friendly, or anything else. I have cherished every single condition I have played in,” Shubman told in an interview.
Shubman has played 15 Tests in his career so far, averaging 34.23, and has played the most number of Tests against Australia and England — 5 each.
In 5 Tests against Australia, Shubman has scored 413 runs at an average of 51.62. He has one century and 2 fifties under his belt against the Aussies.

Shubman’s Test debut was also against Australia during India’s 2020-21 tour, under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane. He was part of the victorious Rahane-led Team India’s memorable 2-1 series win against Australia in Australia.
Shubman played 3 Tests on that tour and scored 259 runs at an average of 51.80.
“From making my debut in Melbourne against Australia to playing in England, I got to learn a lot. Sharing the dressing room with the seniors – Virat bhai, Rohit bhai, Ajinkya, Pujara has been amazing. I have enjoyed batting in overseas conditions,” Shubman further told

On being asked about his favourite Test knock so far, Shubman rated his Brisbane knock as his best. He scored 91 runs in India’s thrilling three-wicket win against Australia in that match.

“There are so many (favourite knocks) but I will rate my knock in Brisbane on top. It will be close to my heart. Our team needed runs in that crucial match and I am happy that I could contribute and give my best. It was one of the best series wins. I am happy and proud that I was part of that series win,” the 23-year-old winner of the IPL 2023 orange cap said.

AI Test.

“Ajinkya led from the front and we all were confident that we would win. Rishabh played a wonderful knock and took us to a series win. It was a memorable win. I wanted to score as many runs in the fourth innings as possible and played confidently. I wanted to win the match for my team,” Shubman signed off.

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WTC Final: Time to reformat for Team India | Cricket News – Times of India

The endless grind of franchise T20s & international cricket is now reality, meaning India’s players have to stay fit & adjust quickly, in just a few nets sessions, to play a Test in England on the heels of the IPL
At the start of the year, there was a lengthy meeting at a five-star hotel in Mumbai where some BCCI office-bearers huddled with India captain Rohit Sharma, who was present virtually, head coach Rahul Dravid and National Cricket Academy chairman VVS Laxman.
Their topic of discussion? ‘Workload management,’ a term bandied about by the board in the media to give an impression that something is being done about it.

The BCCI, it seemed, was a bit concerned with the workload of the players in the light of 2023 being the year of the World Test Championship final and the ICC ODI World Cup in India in October-November.
The after-effects of a long tournament like the IPL were visible and certainly played a part in India’s dismal campaigns in the 2009 T20 World Cup in England, and in the Test series two years later, which the team lost 0-4.
Another IPL later, we still have no solution to this problem. There was no sign of any player’s workload being managed during the IPL.


WTC Final: India and Australia records at The Oval

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In fact, the last batch of the four Indian players supposed to be playing in the WTC final at Oval – Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane (CSK), Shubman Gill (GT) and Mohammed Shami (GT) – were locked in a tense IPL final, which stretched to three days, just a week before the Test.
Someone like Mumbai Indians coach and former South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher feels that a tournament like the IPL isn’t too much taxing because it involves playing just T20 cricket.
However, these are high-intensity T20 games in a short duration, with hardly any time left for the body to recover before the next match. Almost all the players carry some niggle or the other.


WTC Final: Acid test for Shubman Gill

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At the start of the tournament, a report emerged that Rohit Sharma would rest for a few games, allowing Suryakumar Yadav to lead Mumbai Indians, but that happened in just one match. With MI’s qualification on the line, Rohit ended up playing almost every game in IPL 2023.
Not to forget, this was the first IPL post-Covid which involved the home and away format since 2019. It meant the players were on a usual ‘Bharat darshan’ trip, clocking thousands of air miles with its attendant hassles.
Add several matches which go deep into the night, and you have a situation where the body clock of the sleep-deprived cricketer goes for a six. A classic example was the reserve day of the IPL final, which saw the post-match ceremony finishing around 3.30 am!

That brings us to the million-dollar question. Will the players be fatigued going into the World Test Championship final against Australia?
“No, fatigue is definitely not a factor for international players. These players’ workloads have been monitored continuously. They should be raring to go and be able to give their best,” former India left-arm spinner and ex-national selector Sunil Joshi told TOI.
Barring Cheteshwar Pujara, who was enjoying another dream season for Sussex, all the other Indian cricketers were involved deeply in this rigmarole. In contrast, the Aussies, with a view to win their first WTC title and the Ashes, were more focused on getting as used to the English conditions as possible.

Being left unsold in the IPL auction in December proved to be a boon in disguise for someone like Steve Smith, who revelled as Pujara’s teammate in Sussex, getting some useful runs and game time in the UK.
The Aussie pace battery is also fit and raring to go. Skipper Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc decided to give the IPL a skip, while Josh Hazlewood played for RCB in just three games, in which he bowled 9 overs.
In a curious turn of events, the pacer flew back to Australia mid-way into the IPL due to an ‘injury,’ but was pronounced fit for WTC and the Ashes in a few days’ time.
The only Aussie players involved in both the IPL and the WTC final are allrounder Cameron Green, who had a stellar season for MI, and veteran opener David Warner, who captained a floundering Delhi Capitals campaign.


The turnaround in Ajinkya Rahane’s career

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As they scamper to prepare for the big final while trying to put in a few meaningful practice sessions in the UK without even a warm-up game under their belt, India’s top cricketers are clearly in danger of being under-cooked for red-ball cricket.
Joshi, though feels that Team India “has had a good preparation”. “The fact that we are practicing at the Arundel Castle Cricket Club – a open ground where there’s a strong breeze – will help our cricketers immensely, as the ball will swing a lot there, and the bowlers will get an idea of bowling with and against the breeze.
“Form is important irrespective of format. If a pacer is hitting the hard lengths and a batsman is able to middle the ball, everything should be fine.”


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Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma & Shubman Gill Attend FA Cup Final In London Ahead Of World Test Championship Final

The countdown to the highly anticipated World Test Championship final between India and Australia is underway. Scheduled to take place at the iconic Oval in London on June 7, both teams are gearing up for the ultimate battle. Team India arrived in England just a few days ago, on Saturday, June 3, and is eagerly awaiting the commencement of the finals. However, before this crucial encounter, another grand final took place in London that attracted the attention of Indian cricket’s star batsman, Virat Kohli, and his wife, Anushka Sharma.

On Saturday, the historic FA Cup final, the oldest football tournament in England, unfolded at London’s renowned Wembley Stadium. The intense face-off featured arch-rivals Manchester United and Manchester City. As expected, a sea of fervent fans flooded the stadium, and prominent football personalities were also in attendance.

The affinity cricketers have for football is widely known, and members of the Indian cricket team often express their support for various clubs. Therefore, when the opportunity arose for Virat Kohli to witness such a significant match in London, he eagerly seized it. Kohli, accompanied by his Bollywood superstar wife Anushka Sharma and Team India’s young batting sensation Shubman Gill, became spectators of this exhilarating final.

Kohli and Anushka received invitations from Manchester City and Puma, the renowned sports brand with which Kohli has had a long-standing association. Both Virat and Anushka are esteemed brand ambassadors for Puma in India. Consequently, they were extended invitations by the football club and the company. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Shubman Gill also joined the duo to revel in the thrilling final.

Apart from these three stars, another distinguished presence was witnessed at Wembley Stadium. Yuvraj Singh, former Team India star and veteran all-rounder, made his presence felt during the final. Yuvraj, an ardent supporter of Manchester United, was in attendance as a part of the pre-match show hosted by Sony Sports, the Indian broadcaster of the match. The sight of Yuvraj, a cricket legend, attending the football final added to the excitement of the event.

Thus, the football fervour engulfed the cricketing stars, as they revelled in the high-stakes FA Cup final before the impending clash between India and Australia in the World Test Championship. The presence of these renowned personalities from the cricketing world, including Virat Kohli, Anushka Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Yuvraj Singh, further highlighted the deep-rooted passion for sports that transcends boundaries and unites fans and players alike.

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Indian Spider-Man Pavitr Prabhakar makes big-screen debut in ‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider Verse’; theatre erupts in hoots and cheers – WATCH | English Movie News – Times of India

Indian Spider-Man, Pavitr Prabhakar made his big-screen debut in the new animated film ‘Spider-Man: Across The Spider Verse‘.
The film is a sequel to the 2018 Oscar-winning film ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’, released in theatres in India on June 1. Fans who lined up to catch a screening on the first day took to Twitter to share their excitement about seeing the desi version of the character join forces with Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy.
A viral video doing the rounds online sees Indian fans hooting and whistling as soon as Pavitr swings into action on the screen in his Indianised Spidey outfit.

“Pavitr Prabhakar and the whole Indian aesthetic of Mumbattan was so perfect, he’s so fun and just looks amazing. Loved feeling represented like this #SpiderVerse. I wasn’t expecting him to be as funny as he was,” a fan said in a Tweet.
Another said, “I LOVE PAVITR PRABHAKAR The introduction scene of Spider-man Indian was And Miles getting stuck in electrical wires in the Mumbattan was hilarious The background music was so cooool #SpiderVerse.”

‘Across The Spider Verse’ traces the journey of teenager Miles, voiced by Shameik Moore, embarking on a mission with love interest Gwen Stacy, voiced by Hailee Steinfeld, to save the Spider-People in every universe from catastrophe.

The voice cast includes Issa Rae as Spider-Woman, Oscar Isaac as Spider-Man 2099, Daniel Kaluuya as Spider-Punk and Brian Tyree Henry as Miles’ father, Jefferson Davis.

The pre-pandemic ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ raked in over $35 million during its first three days of release and went on to win the 2019 Oscar for Best Animated feature film. For many film critics, this new superhero movie has all the makings of a box-office success. The film is expected to bring in about $115.5 million over its first three days in the U.S. and Canada. Sony Pictures forecasts a lower debut of between $75 million and $85 million.

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फाइनल में गिल के आउट होते ही कोहली ने ली चैन की सांस, टूटने से बचे 3 बड़े कीर्तिमान

Image Source : IPL
Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli

IPL 2023: आईपीएल 2023 के फाइनल में चेन्नई सुपर किंग्स के सामने गुजरात टाइटंस की टीम है। इस पूरे ही सीजन में गुजरात के ओपनिंग बल्लेबाज शुभमन गिल ने कमाल का प्रदर्शन किया। ऐसा लग रहा था कि गिल एक ही सीजन में आईपीएल के तमाम रिकॉर्ड्स को अपने नाम कर लेंगे। लेकिन इसके बावजूद भी आरसीबी के दिग्गज बल्लेबाज विराट कोहली के तीन बड़े रिकॉर्ड्स गिल नहीं तोड़ पाए।

बच गया कोहली का महारिकॉर्ड

शुभमन गिल सीएसके के खिलाफ फाइनल में 39 रन बनाकर आउट हो गए। इसी के साथ गिल ने इस सीजन को 890 रनों के साथ खत्म किया। गिल 900 के आंकड़ों से तो चूके ही इसी के साथ वो आईपीएल में कोहली के सबसे ज्यादा रनों के रिकॉर्ड को तोड़ने से भी चूक गए। कोहली ने आईपीएल 2016 में 973 रन कूट दिए थे। हालांकि गिल आईपीएल के एक सीजन में सबसे ज्यादा रन बनाने वाले बल्लेबाजों की लिस्ट में दूसरे नंबर पर जा पहुंचे हैं।

बचा शतकों का रिकॉर्ड

इतना ही नहीं गिल से कोहली का सबसे ज्यादा शतकों का रिकॉर्ड भी बच गया। गिल ने इस सीजन में कुल तीन सेंचुरी मारी थीं। लेकिन विराट ने आईपीएल 2016 में कुल 4 शतक मारे थे। कोहली के अलावा राजस्थान के स्टार ओपनर जोस बटलर ने भी आईपीएल 2022 में 4 शतक मारे थे। 

ये रिकॉर्ड भी बचा

इसके अलावा गिल कोहली के एक ही सीजन में सबसे ज्यादा बाउंड्री मारने के रिकॉर्ड को भी नहीं तोड़ पाए। विराट ने आईपीएल 2016 में 122 बाउंड्री लगाई थीं। लेकिन गिल 118 बाउंड्रीज ही इस सीजन मार पाए। इस लिस्ट में टॉप पर जॉस बटलर हैं जिन्होंने आईपीएल 2022 में 128 बाउंड्रीज मारी थीं। वहीं तीसरे नंबर पर डेविड वॉर्नर हैं जिन्होंने 119 बाउंड्रीज एक ही सीजन में मारी हुई हैं।  

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Watch: MS Dhoni’s Lightning Quick Stumping To Dismiss Shubman Gill In IPL 2023 Final | Cricket News

MS Dhoni (L) completed the stumping to dismiss Shubman Gill© BCCI

It was trademark MS Dhoni as the Chennai Super Kings skipper pulled off a lightning quick stumping to dismiss Shubman Gill during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 final against Gujarat Titans at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday. It was a flat delivery from Ravindra Jadeja but Gill tried to play for the turn. The ball kept its line and the batsman lost his balance for a bit after missing the delivery completely. The split second was enough for Dhoni who was at it in a flash and was able to dislodge the bails before Gill could return to the crease. Gill was dismissed after scoring 39 off 20 balls.

Dhoni won the toss and opted to bowl against defending champions Gujarat Titans.

“We’ll bowl first with the rain forecast being around. Yesterday we were in the dressing room. As a cricketer, you always want to play. It was the crowd that suffered the most. Hopefully, we can entertain them. The pitch has been undercover for a long time, but throughout the tournament, the pitch has behaved well over here. Quite happy it will be a 20-over game we’ll be playing. Serves justice to the tournament like this. Same team,” CSK captain MS Dhoni said at the time of the toss.

“Would’ve bowled first as well, but my heart wanted to bat so I don’t mind losing the toss. We spoke that it is something out of our control (weather). Whichever team plays better will have their hands on the trophy. I like keeping the boys cool, and they repay me. It’s a flat track (what he makes of the pitch?). Same team,” Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya said.

(With ANI inputs)

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‘Their Legacies Are Immortal:’ Shubman Gill On Being Hailed As Next Big Thing After Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli

Shubman Gill, a maverick batter who has created records in IPL 2023 and is being hailed as the ‘Prince’ of Indian cricket, has said that legacies of players like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli are immortal and can’t be defined.

Gill has enthralled cricket fans with his batting in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. The 23-year-old scored three IPL centuries across four innings recently and helped his team Gujarat Titans set up the summit clash against Chennai Super Kings in the final.

There have been suggestions on social media that the young opener can carry forward the batting legacies of legend Sachin Tendulkar and star cricketer Virat Kohli.

Gill told ANI that he appreciates the feelings of people but does not see it that way.

“See it’s great when people see it but I don’t really see that way because the generation that all of these people Sachin sir, Virat bhai and Rohit Sharma have inspired is beyond. Had we not won the 1983 World Cup, had there not been a Sachin Tendulkar….had we not won the 2011 world cup would I be as much inspired, maybe or maybe not. So, these kinds of legacies, things kind of things are immortal. you can’t really define their legacies,” Gill told ANI.

The batter hit a whirlwind century in Qualifier 2 while playing for Gujarat Titans against the mighty Mumbai Indians and his knock of 129 runs came of just 60 balls last week.

Shubman is not only making the right noises in the cricket world but he is also making sensational waves in the entertainment industry. The 23-year-old has lent his voice to the Hindi and Punjabi versions of ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’.

Sharing his dubbing experience, especially in Punjabi, Shubman said, “It was an amazing experience. Also, this is the first official Punjabi release. To be able to officially have the whole movie done in Punjabi is all more exciting and for me to be able to be a part of is even more amazing.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment India will release ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi and Bengali on June 1.

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Shubman Gill vs Deepak Chahar Among Key Battles To Decide GT vs CSK IPL 2023 Final | Cricket News

Chennai Super Kings and Gujarat Titans take on each other in the final of IPL 2023 on Sunday. The match at Narendra Modi Stadium will either see CSK getting crowned as IPL champions for a record-equalling fifth time or Gujarat Titans successfully defending their IPL title. What would boost GT’s hopes is the fact that they have won three of the four matches against CSK. On the other hand, a mini motivation for the MS Dhoni-led side is that CSK defeated GT by 15 runs in the most recent game between the sides.

Before the final match kicks off, let’s have a look at the key battles that are likely to take place during the game –

Deepak Chahar vs Shubman Gill

CSK pacer Deepak Chahar is finally back in his groove, picking 12 wickets in the last five matches. His swing at the start makes him almost unplayable at times during powerplay. GT’s in-form opener and Orange Cap holder Shubman Gill could face a tough challenge from the star pacer with a veteran MS Dhoni guiding his bowlers from behind the stumps.

CSK openers vs Mohammed Shami

The openers of CSK — Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway — have been the top scorers for the side. While Gaikwad has scored over 564 runs across 15 matches, the tally of Conway is 625 from 15 matches. However, both the batters have a real threat in GT’s star pacer Mohammed Shami, who is also the Purple Cap holder. The right-arm speedster has dominated Gaikwad in the past, while he has been excellent with the ball against Conway in IPL 2023.

Moeen Ali vs Rashid Khan-Noor Ahmed Pair

The spin pair of Rashid Khan and Noor Ahmed strengthen Gujarat Titans’ bowling in the middle overs. Batters, who have tried to take them on, have lost their wickets more often than not. On the other hand, Moeen is adept at taking the spinners to the cleaners. Though he has not gotten many opportunities to bat this season, CSK might use him as a weapon against the GT spin duo.

MS Dhoni vs Hardik Pandya

Ahead of anything will be the healthy fight between the strategies of the two captains – MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya. One is a world-class leader, while the other is an emerging one with a promising future in the role. In Qualifier 1, Dhoni’s men finished on top but it will be interesting to see who outsmarts whom in the summit clash.

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CSK vs GT IPL 2023 Final: Gujarat Titans hope to gatecrash MSD party | Cricket News – Times of India

Gujarat Titans and CSK seem to be evenly matched going into IPL summit clash today
AHMEDABAD: There is no trophy in the annals of cricketing history that MS Dhoni has not laid his hands on. But come Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium, he would like to give one final push to bring home the fifth IPL title for the Chennai Super Kings.

Standing in his way are Hardik Pandya‘s Gujarat Titans, who are basking in the glory of opener Shubman Gill‘s (851 runs in 16 matches) finest season and hoping to become the first franchise to win two IPL trophies at the first time of asking.

MS Dhoni’s CSK: Why Chennai Super Kings Are The Most Consistent Team In IPL History

It is fitting that after 73 matches the curtains on this year’s IPL are being brought down by two of the most consistent teams.


IPL 2023 Final: Chennai Super Kings stand between Gujarat Titans and history

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The aggressive brand of cricket that Pandya has egged his team to play is a leaf out of Dhoni’s book. When Dhoni had the full squad at his disposal, his team was invincible. But even with a depleted squad, the 41-year-old has utilized his resources to the fullest to take his team to the summit clash.

The Titans are a well-rounded batting and bowling unit, and they are up against the Super Kings, who have gone from strength to strength under Dhoni’s able leadership and guile.


So, how will Dhoni and Co. stop the marauding Gill or how will Shami and co. look to halt Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway?
TOI delves into the match-ups…
Gill vs Deepak Chahar
Chahar has shown if there is some juice in the pitch, he is a bowler to reckon with. His short ball to dismiss Gill in the first qualifier is something that will be etched in the latter’s memory. Meanwhile, Tushar Deshpande has gone for runs but has taken 21 wickets in 15 matches to be CSK’s highest wicket-taker. How the duo go about against Gill will set the early tone.


GT’s middle-order vs CSK’s spinners
Maheesh Theekshana and Ravindra Jadeja spun a web around the GT’s middle-order batters in the first qualifier. However, things are going to be different in Ahmedabad with the surface expected to remain true for batting throughout the match.


CSK openers vs GT pacers
Mohammed Shami (28 wickets), Rashid Khan (27 wickets) and Mohit Sharma (24 wickets) are the top three wicket-takers this IPL. But none have been able to stop Gaikwad (564 runs from 15 matches). In two matches against GT, the opener has made 92 and 60 and helped the team set up competitive totals.

CSK vs GT | IPL 2023 Final | Which team will take the trophy this year?

After the initial struggle, Conway (625 runs from 15 matches) has prospered to become a support for Gaikwad.


Rashid Khan vs CSK middle order
In Shivam Dube, a resurgent Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali, CSK have a middle order which can match GT man for man. Add Dhoni to the mix. His fans might want to see him play next season, but his knees just don’t seem to be able to handle the rigours of any form of international cricket. How the CSK middle order tackle the eight overs between Rashid and Noor will be a crucial factor.

Both teams are evenly matched, with no clear favourites. Will Dhoni’s guile triumph or will Pandya, who considers Dhoni his mentor, have another IPL trophy to his credit?


Watch IPL 2023 Final – CSK vs GT: Who will wear the crown this time?

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CSK Better Prepared For IPL 2023 Final Compared To Past, Says Stephen Fleming | Cricket News

Chennai Super Kings head coach Stephen Fleming on Saturday said that the four-time winners are better prepared for the IPL final against Gujarat Titans than any other time in the past, when conditions affected their performance. Fleming said CSK’s win-loss ratio remained around 50 per cent because they would usually build and prepare their squads keeping the conditions and pitches at the home venue at Chepauk in mind, but that is not the case anymore. He said the team would be ready for any conditions — there are rains expected during the final here on Sunday — and that they have erred in reading conditions and pitches in the past.

“We geared ourselves up so well for Chennai that we did struggle with conditions at times in away games, so the finals were always a little bit of a challenge, and our record is about 50 per cent of winning the final,” Fleming said during the pre-match press conference.

“It is maybe due to the style of the game we created — a victim of being so good at home that we had to make adjustments when we went to a neutral venue.” Fleming said CSK were “a bit more rounded” this year.

“Because of that going back to Chennai (for Qualifier 1), it was hard. I wanted to bowl (first) in the last qualifying game and batting proved to be the right call and MS (Dhoni) was the other way in the last game,” he said.

“So we are well off the mark in trying to get the conditions right but the team is rounded enough to put performances together. Come the final, we are not worried as to what conditions we get, there are two pitches to choose from now but we are not too worried. We are a lot better placed than what we had been in the past,” he said.

The former New Zealand captain said that making early breakthroughs will be key for his side as GT batter Shubman Gill’s red-hot form presents the biggest challenge for CSK. “He (Gill) is playing really well. It (the plans) does not really change, you hope that you pick him up early, you have enough firepower to create an opportunity. The only thing that we are looking at is when you have got openers, when they are in such good form, there is an opportunity to get into the middle order.

“If we can get a couple of early breakthroughs then, (just like) in the last game we played there is an opportunity. But we got to get past him, he is playing really well,” Fleming said.

For someone who has won IPL title four times with CSK, Fleming said it is not easy winning the trophy back-to-back.

“So hard! It is impossible, it is going to be so hard for them (GT) to do it (laughs). No, they are a good side; you got to say ‘really well done’ to what they have put together in a short space of time,” he said.

“I like the coaching staff a lot, they are really balanced guys. Ashish, for all his talking, has got a really good grasp of the game, his enthusiasm is really high after working with him in Chennai. We have a huge amount of respect for what they have done but it is very hard to go back to back.” Gujarat Titans’ team director Vikram Solanki also returned the favour, but added that knowledge of conditions in their ‘home ground’ here should hold them in good stead.

“We are definitely better for the experience for having played here, having played in the final (last year) here, and having been successful in those big games. We are better for it,” he said.

“We entirely appreciate this sort of respect CSK have given. They have been a fabulous team for a good number of years now and we respect that. We are confident; what transpires on the day is what transpires on the day,” Solanki added.

Solanki praised GT’s bowling trio of Mohammad Shami (28 wickets), Rashid Khan (27 wickets) and Mohit Sharma (24 wickets), who also are the top three wicket-takers in this IPL.

“If you look at the tournament in its entirety, the impact player rule has had a bearing on the number of batsmen that are playing, therefore, wicket-taking becomes all the more important. We have always being attacking minded, an attack that is able to take wickets in different conditions through different phases of the game,” he said.

“That is our go-to, the ability to take wickets. All three have been quite brilliant this year, they have worked extremely hard and they deserve all the success that is coming their way.” The former England batter said at just 23, Gill could be an example for young batters to model their batting on.

“For a young man, he is quite a brilliant technician as far as batting is concerned. He would certainly be one of the examples that you would like to use for young players on how to bat,” Solanki said.

“He has all of the qualities of a world-class player and he is just showing his skill level. Fortunately for us, he is in good form, he works very hard on his game, not just in practice. He is very conscious of the opposition that he is going to face, where he is likely to gain advantage, what are the dangers, what are the things that he is going to have to deal with.”

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