Chennai Super Kings' campaign in the last edition of Indian Premier League was hampered due to Dwayne Bravo's injury which hurt the balance of their side and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is happy that the prolific all-rounder is back again to don the yellow jersey. (MI pacer Praveen Kumar ruled out of CLT20)
"The good thing for us will be, we missed Dwayne Bravo during the IPL. He got injured. That really affected the strength, combination and stability of the side. It is good to have him (Bravo) back," Dhoni said at a media conference here today ahead of his team's Champions League T20 opener against IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders. (KXIP sweating over Mitchell Johnson's availability ahead of CLT20)
"Also, most of the players have been playing international cricket and most of them have scored runs in the recent series. So, it's looking good. Still, we will have to see how quickly we adapt to the conditions," he told reporters. (I was stuck in a helpless situation for 11 days, says Parvez Rasool)
Questioned about the Gautam Gambhir-led KKR, Dhoni said,"I think KKR is a very good team. The fact is that we played against each other quite a few times, right from the start. With all the retentions and everything coming in, most of the core group remains the same. They have their own strengths." (Rohit Sharma's loss huge hole to fill, says Michael Hussey)
"At the same time, we are a different side. We rely on different stuff. In fact, all the teams getting into the Champions League tournament, they will all be excellent sides. They will have their own weaknesses and they have their own strengths. So, you have to focus on that," Dhoni said.
Replying to a query, he said that CLT20 can be unpredictable with even a single player being able to change the course of the match.
Quizzed on the dew factor and playing conditions, he said,"We will have to rely on is the fact, whether there is dew or not. All those things come into the scene. I think the Indian teams who are participating in the Champions League T20 have got a very good chance."
"But, Twenty20 is a sort of a lottery cricket, where you have to be at your best on the particular day. Even one individual can take the game away from you or can win the game for you. Overall, we will have to wait and watch. But, I think every team has got fair amount of chance," Dhoni said.
To another query, he said the presence of Indian players in a team plays a role in evoking the interest of the cricket fans in the country.
"It will lag behind a bit obviously. Because, IPL format is different. It is played for two months continuously and there are big Indian players in every team. The big international cricketers are present in the teams. The overall connect that exists, it increases," said Dhoni.
He said that CLT20 is a brilliant concept but there are its pitfalls also when two overseas teams are pitted against each other.
"The idea of Champions League T20 is brilliant. But also, it becomes difficult to indulge the Indian crowds at the same level if you compare to IPL. Because, if two teams from abroad are playing, you won't get the same kind of crowd, may be when two Indian teams are playing, the interest of crowd grows. This is a challenge," said Dhoni.
"Still, people come to watch these matches. The idea of Champions League T20 is good, whether it has the same kind of following, that we will have to wait and watch," he said.
Replying to a query about the switch over from playing international cricket to the T20 format, he said it is like playing ODIs after a Test series and vice-versa.
"Well, it has its own challenge. It's like you switch format. After a Test series, you play ODIs. At times, you play ODIs first and then get into the Test series (vs West Indies). It has its own demand. Also, what makes it slightly different is the fact, after IPL we all go back and then we assemble.
"This is one time where you don't have too much time in your hand. We don't like get together 10 days before the start of the tournament. It is usually pretty fast. Especially, the fact, most of the Indian cricketers they are part of the ODI squad and they are coming from England, which means will be arriving here late.
"In my case, I just came here today. So, you don't get the same amount of time with the team. As I said, it has its own challenge. Still it is good. We get enough time to get together. The two months of IPL, the time, we spend that really helps us. It becomes like a refresher course, where you get together and start getting your acts together," he said.