sport

CSK celebrates a special triumph

Chennai wants you to remain at the helm, Stalin tells Dhoni

There was joy and happiness in the air. And the applause was resounding.

“Dhoni, we want you to lead CSK for many more years,” said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, addressing the former India captain, at the Kalaivanar Arangam here on Saturday.

The occasion was special. To celebrate Chennai Super Kings’ IPL triumph this year on the franchise owner India Cements’ 75th anniversary.

Stalin, who was the chief guest, revealed he had come to the event as a Dhoni fan.

“My grandsons and granddaughters, all admirers of Dhoni, are sitting here.” More clapping of hands and chants of ‘Dhoni, Dhoni” followed.

In a momentous moment, Dhoni and N. Srinivasan, India Cements vice-chairman and managing director, presented Stalin with the IPL trophy won by CSK in 2021, “for the people of Chennai.”

“Dhoni is the heartbeat of CSK. Though he is from Ranchi, I consider him a Chennaiite,” said Stalin.

Stalin was also presented miniature replicas of all the trophies won by CSK, and Dhoni’s No. 7 shirt bearing the CM’s name and signed by all players.

Sharing his memories, former ICC and BCCI chief N. Srinivasan said, “Before the first auction in IPL, I told the late V.B. Chandrasekar, who was managing the team then, ‘I want Dhoni at any cost’. “It was one of the best decisions I have made.”

On how the name Chennai Super Kings came about, Srinivasan said, “The picture appeared in The Hindu in early 2008… K. Srikkanth throwing up the ball and asking people for names for the new franchise. The maximum number of names received was Chennai Super Kings.”

Calling Dhoni ‘Captain Cool,’ Srinivasan recalled how CSK bounced back this year to win the IPL after being written off by many. “Dhoni is an intense student of the game and the players. There are times when he has told me ‘This player won’t fit in the CSK team.”

Srinivasan stated, “The journey of CSK is a journey of faith and leadership.”

Dhoni had everyone rooting for him when he said, “I hope to play my last IPL game in Chennai. Maybe next year, maybe five years from now!”

Calling CSK a family, Dhoni said, “It has grown beyond Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India and has fans throughout the world.”

Dhoni noted, “I am a wanderer, lived in different places. When I came to Chennai, I was struck by its tradition and the sporting nature of the crowd.”

The legendary Kapil Dev said Chennai held some of his fondest cricketing memories. He praised CSK for its ability to buck the odds.

Kapil observed, “Srinivasan has done so much for the players. Why was there no Srinivasan during my playing days?”

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said, “Srinivasan and India Cements have looked after the players, provided them employment. And CSK is so popular. When CSK wins, TRPs go up.”

Rupa Gurunath, TNCA president, said her father Srinivasan’s passion for the game drove CSK, an attribute that was also mentioned by BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

It was an evening when giants rubbed shoulders. An occasion to remember.

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