Former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming, who has a stong resume as an IPL coach, is a favourite to become the head coach of the new IPL franchise Pune, as reports suggest. Gary Kirsten, who was also in the fray for Pune's job, seems to have lost out in the race.
Fleming has been one of the most successful coaches in the IPL with Chennai Super Kings. His chemistry and understanding of the players has made him one of the key reasons for Chennai Super Kings' success in the IPL.
Two new teams, Pune and Rajkot, who have come into the picture for the ninth edition of the IPL, are yet to name their respective coaches. With Fleming close to becoming Pune's coach, Rajkot may well acquire the services of Kirsten as head coach.
Pune and Rajkot have got into the manifold of the IPL after CSK and Rajasthan Royals have been suspended for a period of two years over their involvement in the 2013 spot-fixing case. The IPL 2016 is set to start on 9 April, which is, as always, expected to be played in crowded stadiums across India.
Both Pune and Rajkot have already signed five players each for their respective teams and are expected to make some big buys during the IPL 2016 auction, which is set to be held in February. Both teams were allowed to sign players from CSK and Rajasthan Royals and Pune have grabbed three key CSK players, including MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin and Faf du Plessis.
With Pune having attained Dhoni, the franchise knows about the successful relationship between the New Zealander and India skipper during their CSK days. Hence, it holds great logic if Fleming is officially appointed as Pune's coach.
"Fleming did remarkably well with CSK and he did so in partnership with captain (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni...," a source told the Telegraph.
"Dhoni's going to captain Pune and it's only logical that the franchise owners would look to keep that association alive...
"As I see it, it's a done deal."
The Pune team management needs to confirm about their coach and announce it as soon as possible. With the upcoming IPL auctions, the coach will play an integral role in selecting the core squad and he needs some time to prepare for that as well.