Chennai: Chennai Super Kings off-spinner R Ashwin on Monday, reckoned that the side would be under pressure to defend the title in the fifth Indian Premier League but said it would look to peak at the right time as it did in the last edition.
Reasoning that all teams start on even terms, Ashwin told a pre-match press conference here ahead of the home team's opener against Mumbai Indians on April 4, that peaking at the right time in these type of tournaments was the key to success.
"This is going to be a most interesting season for CSK because we have lot of pressure on us to defend the title. More so we have some injury concerns," the off-spinner said, adding they would have to be wary of injuries that might haunt them towards the middle or end of the season.
"That is what we have to watch out for. More so there will be back-to back matches and in early April which we have to be wary of," he said.
CSK opender Abhniva Mukund is the first casualty as he was ruled out for ten days after twisting his ankle during a practice session last Saturday.
Sounding cautious on the team's chances to win the title, he said every team starts off the competition with equal chances. "It is more of league phases and peaking at the right time. Last season we peaked at the right time. We will have to look to do the same."
Disagreeing with suggestions that the Chepauk wicket was a turning one, Ashwin, who claimed 20 wickets in the last edition, said it was the bounce that mattered most. Ashwin said the wicket looked different to him than it was earlier with much more red soil in it. "I don't really understand how it is a turning track. If at all it is a turning track, it is going to be hard to bat for both the sides. Even during IPL season 3 there was enough bounce for the spinners to be interested in it."
"It is always the bounce at Chepauk that had been crucial and not the turn. If it is a turning track, you can't make 140 and 160 runs."
Admitting that his side had good variety in spin with the likes of left-armer Shadab Jakati and new find Ravindra Jadeja, he said it was good to have such a lineup.
But he put the onus of winning on the batsmen, saying, "In the longer format of game a bowler can win the game. But in the shorter version, a bowler can only set up. The batsmen have really to win the game. Even if the opponent gets 180 and if the batsmen get going it would not be enough."
On spin options, he said Jakati had done well for the team in the last two years and cannot be overlooked. "We will have to really look to hunt as a pack this time. With Jadeja batting down the order and having the option of bowling it is going to be that much more increasingly powerful for the side to come out as a potent force."
He again stressed on the bounce factor, referring to the presence of speedsters like Doug Bollinger and A Morkel. "It is the bounce that is going to matter the most. I heard that in the practice game yesterday there was a lot of bounce."
He also said the slowness of the Chepauk wicket upset the Chennai team's calculations in the Champions League and hoped it would behave like it did in season 3.