Chennai: They might be struggling after back-to-back defeats but Chennai Super Kings all-rounder Albie Morkel said his team is still not in a do-or-die position and the IPL tournament is wide open.
The 29-year-old South African, however, said they have to sharpen their fielding and revealed that a few players, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, were carrying niggles, but assured there was nothing to worry.
"I don`t see it as a do or die situation. If we win one or two games, we will be at the top or somewhere near it. The tournament is wide open," Albie said on the eve of their IPL match against Pune Warriors tomorrow.
"Presently, Mumbai Indians is the form team. But we have been preparing hard and the intensity level is quite high. We hope we can hit the right notes by winning a couple of matches. We have a proud record in Chennai," he added.
The South African said though some of the players have niggles, it was not a matter of concern.
"Few of them have niggles, but nothing serious. MSD just hurt his knee while batting but that isn`t concerning," he said.
"We need not panic as we have been in similar situations before recovering ourselves. Last year, we had to win almost every match to make the semifinals and we accomplished that. We are not intimidated by the defeats. We won two matches convincingly and lost two close matches. We haven`t played badly," he added.
Albie, however, conceded that fielding is the lone area where they have to improve.
"We have been bowling well, batting well and fielding is one area we are striving to improve. As the tournament progresses that would be an area that would make a massive difference, and we are trying our best to meet the standards. Besides, we have match winners, who can stand up and deliver when it matters," he said.
Albie has not been among runs in four of the five matches that he has played. His bowling too has been unimpressive as he gave away 140 runs from 16 overs taking only four wickets.
Asked about his performance, Albie said he would look to bowl two overs upfront and bat at the death overs.
"I will try to fulfil my role to the best of my ability. I will look to bowl two overs upfront and then bat at the death overs. But unfortunately I haven`t been able to get enough runs, and the bowling hasn`t been easy as some of the matches were played on fantastic surfaces.
"Couple of times I have run into players in great form and got hit. But I`m focusing on putting my best step forward," said Albie, who made only 36 runs from two innings so far.
Albie said he doesn`t think good performance in IPL can get him a place in the South African team and he was only looking to give his best for his Chennai team.
"I don`t see the IPL as a platform to regain my place in the South African side. With CSK, I`m only focusing on giving my best to them and I am not bothered about anything else. I have been like that for the last three years," he said.
Asked about their back-to-back encounters with Pune Warriors, Albie said, "Every game is different, and that isn`t a concern at all. The next match will be played on a different surface and a different place where most of the spectators will be supporting them."