Dhoni says hopefully his last T20 will be in Chennai

The former India captain was speaking at a felicitation function organised for CSK for winning the 2021 edition of IPL. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin presided over the function.

Chennai Super Kings captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin at a felicitation function organised for CSK for winning the 2021 edition of IPL.   -  K.Pichumani

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 the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin, turning to the former India captain, at the Kalaivanar Arangam 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 fan of Dhoni. “My grandsons and granddaughters, all admirers of Dhoni, are sitting here.” 

More clapping and chants of "Dhoni, Dhoni," followed.

Dhoni and N. Srinivasan, vice-chairman and managing director, India Cements, 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.

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The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was presented with miniature replicas of all the trophies won by CSK, and a No. 7 shirt, signed by all the players with Stalin's name on it.

Sharing his memories, former ICC and BCCI chief 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.'"

He added, “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 said 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.”

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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.” He 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, the TRPs go up.”

Rupa Gurunath, TNCA president, said her father Srinivasan’s passion for the game drove CSK. 

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

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