Chennai Super Kings (CSK) head coach Stephen Fleming is impressed with debutant Sam Curran's attitude and said his contribution in the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener went a long way in covering the absence of star allrounder Dwayne Bravo, who is recovering from an injury. Sam played an instrumental role in CSK's five-wicket victory in the lung-opener against defending champions Mumbai Indians on Saturday. After an economical spell with the ball, the 22-year-old scored a quick-fire 18 off just six balls to help his side start the campaign on a positive note.
"Losing Dwayne (Bravo) was a big loss and Sam went a long way in filling that," Fleming told the CSK website ahead of Tuesday's IPL match against Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah.
"The things that impressed us with Sam is his attitude first and foremost, almost the harder it gets the better he gets, his all-round skill component and the fact that the captain was able to trust him straightaway to go in at a crucial time and hit the way he did."
CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had surprised everyone by sending Sam up the order with 29 needed off 17 balls. "Also with the ball, to be a part of it straight away, almost stepping straight off the plane was a sign of his attitude and what he is going to bring to CSK for the next few years," said Fleming.
About Bravo's injury, the former New Zealand skipper said the West Indies all-rounder was recovering well and Sam's performance meant they don't have to rush him back. "Bravo is progressing, we are working closely to get him up to 100 percent. We've got three quick games in a row, so we'll look at each game and monitor him each time we train.
"With Sam's performance, it takes a bit of pressure off rushing Bravo back, but he's one of the world's best and to have him in the selection equation is very important to us," Fleming said.
Talking about the five-wicket win over Mumbai Indians, Fleming said: "It was great to get the points, two teams that were a little bit nervous after not having played for some time. It was always going to be almost a case of who was going to make the least mistakes. "The way Mumbai started, aggressively against us, it was going to be a tough day. The pleasing thing for us was our character, we held our nerve and as the innings went on our bowlers got better and better."
CSK were reduced to 2 for 6 in two overs during their chase but Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis resurrected the innings with a 115-run partnership. "When we batted we got set back with some good seam bowling, but our composure and our experience was again very good and we fought back into the innings and got ourselves into a match-winning position that we were able to finish off," Fleming said.
"Some really pleasing aspects, in terms of a morale boost and a good way to get into the competition."
On the two blinders taken by du Plessis on the boundary line, Fleming said: "It's about taking the opportunities. We try and get our best fielders in the hotspots, and Faf's been one of those for us for a number of years.
"Those catches were very timely and very important, we can't afford to let go of those and give the opposition a second chance."
(Image courtesy: BCCI)