Matheesha Pathirana Injury Update: CSK Bowler To Miss MI Clash In IPL 2024: Here's What Stephen Fleming Says

While saying that Pathirana's injury is not as bad as they thought, Fleming hinted that his participation in Mumbai Indians match is not a certainty but the Lankan pacer was very close to playing again. 

Matheesha Pathirana Injury Update: CSK Bowler To Miss MI Clash In IPL 2024: Here's What Stephen Fleming Says Pathirana. (Source: ANI)

Ahead of the IPL clash between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and arch-rivals Mumbai Indians (MI), coach Stephen Fleming hinted at pacer Matheesha Pathirana's potential absence due to a minor injury. Both teams are gearing up for a high-stakes showdown at Wankhede Stadium. CSK, currently third with three wins and two losses, looks to maintain momentum after defeating Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). Meanwhile, MI, positioned seventh, aims to continue their recent victories, notably over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In their history of 36 encounters, CSK has won 16 times, while MI has claimed victory in 20 matches.

"It (Pathirana's niggle) was not as bad as what we had thought, so we are very hopeful that if not tomorrow, then very close. We know the importance of him in games like this, but we will make sure he is 100 per cent in this form," Fleming told reporters ahead of the game.

Fleming praised CSK's new captain, Ruturaj Gaikwad, likening him to Dhoni in demeanor. He dismissed critiques of Gaikwad's strike rate, emphasizing his adaptability to match conditions. Gaikwad's performance in IPL 2024 reflects consistency, with 155 runs in five matches at an average of 38.75 and a strike rate of 117.42.

"There is no difference (between Gaikwad and Dhoni). He is as cool as it gets. I know the last captain was pretty cool. But this guy is cut from the same cloth, so that is rubbed through."

"He is such an impressive young man around his game and what he needs to do. He has been, I think, unfairly put into a bracket where he has been called slow. But you have to have context to some of these stats. We know that it is a bit of a Bollywood movie, sometimes getting these things up onto the screen. But he is fine. He is playing conditions well. The last game (CSK vs KKR) was a great example of how a leader plays, and there is class as well. I have absolutely no doubt about Ruturaj," Fleming added.

Acknowledging the evolving batting prowess in IPL, Fleming stressed the need for measures to balance the game in favor of bowlers. He suggested reevaluating rules like the two-bouncer limit. Despite the intense rivalry between CSK and MI, both teams with five IPL titles each, Fleming highlighted the mutual respect and competitive spirit characterizing their encounters. He emphasized enjoying the occasion while maintaining focus and managing emotions.