‘Ours is a team full of characters'
CAPTAIN COOL: Stephen Fleming, despite his stern demeanour, is a fun guy to have in the dressing room, says M.S. Dhoni, on the eve of CSK's opener on Tuesday. Photo: K. Pichumani
Chennai Super Kings' captain MS Dhoni during a practice session at MAC Stadium in Chennai. File photo | PTI

Amid a downpour of epithets and lionising background scores, M.S. Dhoni's arrival resembled a film star's flamboyant on-screen entry.

Even as photographers grabbed vantage spots and furiously clicked away, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper — used as he is to such maddening attention — settled down wearing a tranquil smile.

He was accompanied by Team Coach Stephen Fleming and T.S. Raghupathy, Executive President, India Cements, for the launch of CSK's new range of merchandise on Tuesday.

Dhoni's casual, home-spun wit surfaced in adequate measure in a media interaction that had many lively moments.


Ranchi's elevation as an International venue (in the England series to be held from Nov. 2012 – Jan. 2013): This is a big occasion. The new stadium is well-equipped and there are a lot of five-star hotels in Ranchi now.

Matches used to be played at the Keenan Stadium (Jamshedpur) before and now the people of Jharkhand will be looking forward to this new venue.

CSK's opening options: We don't discuss our options. But, Faf (du Plessis) is in good form and Anirudha Srikkanth has done well at the top. Even R. Ashwin can open, so we will see what the best option is.

Having ‘different identities' as captain in Tests and limited-over cricket (passive in the former, active in the latter): Well, I would like to improve and have one identity.

Ability to hide emotions: I don't hide my emotions. It's just that there are enough spaces to express it. It's important not to look frustrated on the field. It helps to be calm and cool and that helps in executing different strategies.

Harbhajan as captain of Mumbai Indians: Bhajji is a fighter and is someone who loves challenges. He will be good as a skipper.

But please don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Sachin Tendulkar is a bad captain. There is a tendency to alter statements.

Fun-loving dressing room: The man sitting next to me (referring to Fleming) appears silent but is very subtle with his jokes. Doug Bollinger is one guy who will entertain you on and off the field. Our team is full of characters.

Home advantage: Home games are important and you want to make the venue a fort that you can defend all the time. But we want to do well away too.

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