Super kings raring to go

Chennai fans are super thrilled with CSK's comeback.

A two-year absence from the Indian Premier League has got Chennai Super Kings fans eager to see their beloved team take centre stage against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 10. Tickets for the opener sold like hot cakes and a sea of fans was seen outside the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium during the opening day of sales.

The city seems to want to make up for the two lost years by embracing its favourite sports team. Tribal loyalties are peaking this season as the CSK players have been welcomed back like long lost heroes returning from war.

The emotional bonds between the city and the Super Kings have been on display ever since the team assembled for pre-season training. Even practice sessions drew more crowds than a modern day Test match as fans used the opportunity to connect with their icons again.

One could expect a packed stadium coming Tuesday, but the three stands which were sealed by the Corporation of Chennai are to remain closed for season 11, much to the disappointment of the fans and management.

A couple of days ago when CSK organised a match simulation, to test their strengths in different departments, around 15,000 fans made it to the venue filling up three stands. The team have been engaging in promotional activities to draw the local community by arriving at the venue in an open bus parade and letting the fans watch their practice sessions.

The management made sure to retain their core, holding back M.S. Dhoni and Suresh Raina, who the fans call ‘Thala’ and ‘Chinna Thala’ respectively. The captain, during one of the pre-season events, got emotional while talking about the return of CSK, for whom he had played for eight years since the inception of the IPL, winning two titles and two Champions Trophy.

One of the key members who fans are to miss is ace-spinner and local boy R. Ashwin, who will be captaining Kings XI Punjab this season. An ardent fan would not forget the moment when the Indian cricketer sent Chris Gayle packing for a duck in the first over of the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011.

But, the management made sure the replacement was fitting as Harbhajan Singh is an entertainer and a match winner.

Bhajji has been really trying to fit in and find his place in the hearts of CSK fans, with most of his Twitter posts coming in Tamil. If the spinner manages to wield his magic wand against the opponents in Chepauk, he is sure to be remembered by the’ knowledgeable’ cricket fans of Chennai.

Players to look out for:

Retained (from 2015)
M.S. Dhoni:
One of the most successful captains from India, he was the first player to be retained by CSK. He led the team to two titles and four runner-up finishes, making CSK one of the most consistent franchises in the IPL.

Suresh Raina: The left-handed batsman is a visual treat to spectators and a match winner, which is why he is a favourite of the yellow army. Possessing a rare talent to perform under pressure, ‘Chinna Thala’ is quick on the field too.

Ravidra Jadeja: He has been Dhoni’s go to man picking up crucial wickets when the need arises. A livewire on the field, Jadeja was the most expensive player in the auction in 2012, bought by CSK for a whopping '9.8 crore.

New players:
Shane Watson: The Australian is one of the most experienced players in the league, with over 100 matches in the IPL. The right-hand batsman is expected to open the innings and will contribute with the ball too.

Harbhajan Singh: Turbanator as he is fondly called has three titles with the Mumbai Indians franchise. The spinner can contribute also with the bat as is he capable of some lusty blows. Replacing R. Ashwin, Bhajji has big shoes to fill in CSK.

Lungi Ngidi: The South African was bought for a bargain price by the Southern franchise for '50 lakhs. Having impressed during the India tour South Africa, the tall athlete is expected to be an integral part of CSK’s bowling unit.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story