Playoff experience and Dhoni factor gives CSK an edge

Last Updated: Thu, May 26, 2011 05:08 hrs

IPL season four is in its last four days and by Saturday we will know the winner of this season. We would have loved to be part of the play-off stage but we didn't play well enough to be in the last lap. The only silver lining in this result is that I have got that much needed rest before we embark on the long tour of West Indies. But make no mistake, playing in the last stage of the IPL would have been much more exciting than resting.

When you perform the way we have, criticism and scrutiny is bound to erupt. But that doesn't mean you have a knee jerk reaction. I am absolutely convinced that the present Warriors side has the potential and resources to do well. If you look at the outcome of our matches, one would see a pattern in our defeats. 

We lost most of our games with a narrow margin. We just need to make some subtle changes, work on some grey areas and work harder to fill that gap.

Mumbai Indians oust Knight Riders in tense climax

The biggest positive I am going to take out from this season is the kind of camaraderie and bonding we enjoyed in the dressing room. We had some very good cricketers and characters as well. Rahul Sharma was the star performer for us. I am sure his effort in this season will give him a lot of confidence as a bowler and he will use this effort as a spring board to take his game to the next level.

Players like Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Mitchell Marsh are also very exciting young cricketers and with experience they should get better.

IPL also helps you to know your opponents better and understand their culture & mindset. For example the general perception about Graeme Smith is very different from the real person he is. He is a great team man, easy-going kind of a person with a very positive vibe around him. His experience of leading an international side was valuable and I shared a great rapport with him.

And if you think I am naughty and play pranks, you need to meet Wayne Parnell. He is funny, mischievous and always ready for a laugh. Take your eyes of him and you will become a victim of his joke or prank. We also had a self-appointed DJ in the team. Alfonso Thomas has a second profession ready for him. Once he leaves cricket he can use his great sense of music to great effect and can be a famous Jockey.

Such was the atmosphere in the team that the junior-most member of the side could laugh at seniors. Rahul Sharma never missed a chance to mimic my bowling action and make fun of it. And then we have our Daabang, Manish Pandey. His name in the team is Chulbul Pandey. He doesn't care for reputation or hierarchy.  He can take panga with anyone without fearing the outcome. There is so much of Salman Khan in him.

Gambhir likely to miss Windies tour with sore shoulder

I am sure this sense of unity will hold us in good stead and we will be a better side next year.

Coming onto the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings are already in the finals and their experience of playing big matches will help them in the finals. And then they have this captain called Dhoni who doesn't lose many finals. Mumbai Indians would be getting ready to take on the Royal Challengers in the second qualifier. All the teams are equally
good and can beat each other on any given day. I wish them all best of luck and may the best team lift the glittering IPL plaque. Meanwhile I will make use of this break and enjoy these matches from the comfort of my couch.

Professional Management Group

More from Sify: