Dhoni country gets ready for yellow wave

Source: CSK X

The Uber driver from the Chennai airport to the hotel offered a rude shock. The IPL is starting on Friday, with Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bengaluru at Chepauk, and he is not interested. He is not interested in MS Dhoni either.

A line from Hamlet came to mind, and to paraphrase it — to be an IPL/Dhoni-apathetic as this city goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. Make no mistake, for two months, from late March to the end of May, Chennai becomes a Dhoni country.

The Uber driver was a case in isolation. Ramana, the banquet manager at Taj Coromandel, encapsulated the common sentiment. The hotel was hosting RCB’s ‘green jersey’ launch, with Virat Kohli at the forefront. But Ramana spoke about Dhoni. “Of course, he is my favourite and I love to watch CSK matches. But I don’t get much time to go to the ground. Last year, when Dhoni won another title, I was very happy,” he said, speaking to RevSportz.


A government servant was initially hesitant when asked about the city’s Dhoni mania. Upon receiving the assurance that his name won’t be revealed, the man, in his thirties, opened his heart. “He (Dhoni) has shown us how to win. The way he behaves on the field, he is a thorough gentleman. If you look at his cricket, his biggest asset is his discipline. We love him,” said the person.

CSK turned up at Chepauk for their nets session late in the afternoon. A short walk away from the stadium, at Dhoni Sports, store manager S Arif revelled in his fanaticism for the great man. “I met my hero just once, outside Chepauk. That will remain the most memorable day of my life,” said Arif. “He knows we have a sports shop named after him and said, ‘thank you’. We opened the store 10 years ago. Thanks to Dhoni, we are doing great business.”

Indeed, the store has been doing excellent business, especially during the IPL. “On CSK match-days, we sell replica shirts, with Dhoni’s name printed on the back, 2,000 pieces per day. Shirts are priced at Rs 600 each. There’s a craze for Rohit Sharma’s shirts as well, but nobody can touch Dhoni,” revealed Arif.

CSK versus RCB, Dhoni versus Kohli, can be a tricky affair for the Indians. Both are legends of the game with humongous fan following. In most other cities, when Kohli comes to play an IPL game, he eats up the home advantage. A frustrated Nitish Rana once rued the fact that a jam-packed Eden Gardens threw its weight behind RCB and chanted ‘Kohli, Kohli’ instead of backing the home team, Kolkata Knight Riders.

Also Read: Stage set for Dhoni to exit IPL on his terms

In Chennai, the question of divided loyalty doesn’t even arise. “We all like Kohli as well. But when he is playing against Dhoni, 95 per cent of the fans will support CSK and their captain,” said Arif, adding: “The opening game will have a full house. I know people have come from Dubai and some even from the United States to watch the game. This year, however, authorities aren’t not allowing the fans to watch CSK’s practice.”

Usually, CSK practice sessions become an event, with thousands of supporters lining up to watch Dhoni batting at the nets. On Wednesday, though, the stadium and its surroundings wore a deserted look. The ground was off-limits to outsiders and a police personnel, manning the stadium gate, explained why.

“See, the dates of the General Elections have been announced and Tamil Nadu will go to polls on April 19. Obviously, that is the top priority at the moment and cricket has become secondary. Opening the practice sessions for the public requires adequate police deployment. We aren’t doing that because of the elections.”

Make no mistake, security will be pretty tight for the IPL opener on Friday, for the turnout will be close to 40,000. And the fans will come singing Dhoni’s name.

For Sports News Click Here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *