Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, who guided Chennai Super Kings to three title triumphs and was hailed as one of the shrewdest captains during his playing days, has been appointed as the coach of Bengal Tigers for the second edition of the Heera Group T10 League.
Speaking on the sidelines of the press conference to announce Fleming’s appointment, Anis Sajan, the mentor of the Bengal team, said: “We wanted Fleming as our team coach because of his aura. He has carried himself so many years as a player and the most successful captain for New Zealand team. As a coach, he has won three IPL title for Chennai Super Kings. He is the only coach who could guide Chennai to the final six times, which even Mumbai could not achieve though they too won the IPL title thrice. He also ensured that Chennai win the Champions League title thrice. So we feel he is the best person for the job.”
Fleming, accepting the role and candidly admitting that T10 will be a new experience, said in a message: “I am delighted to be the coach of Bengal Tigers. I did watch with interest the success of last year’s tournament and look forward to working with team mentor Anis Sajan. This format of the game is still very new so the chance to work with Sajan and some of the best players in the world is very appealing. This franchise has pre-selected five world Class players and the upcoming draft will be a great opportunity to build a team that can push hard for the trophy.”
Sajan, who has nurtured many youngsters from Pakistan, India and in UAE, in various roles like mentor of Indian team in indoor World Cup cricket and as owner of Danube team, feels that Fleming is a ‘cool’ coach like Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is a ‘cool’ captain. He went on to narrate how Fleming reacted when asked about team selection for the second edition. “Fleming surprised me by his candid remark that he would use my experience of being part of the first edition in shaping the team. That showed his modesty despite being a great coach and that is why he has been able to carry the players along.” Fleming also carries with him the experience of being coach of Rising Pune Super Giants in IPL and Melbourne Stars in Big Bash.