IPL: Fans divided over cricket and protests

Fans and protesters had billed the CSK-KKR encounter as Cricket vs Cauvery.

Much before Chennai Super Kings took to the field at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday for its first home match in two years in the Indian Premier League, fans and protesters had billed the encounter as Cricket vs Cauvery.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Much before Chennai Super Kings took to the field at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium on Tuesday for its first home match in two years in the Indian Premier League, fans and protesters had billed the encounter as Cricket vs Cauvery. While the protests didn't deter the fans from flocking to the stadium, it surely left them divided.

For Surya, a businessman and Nuha, a student, a sense of guilt enveloped them as they were entering the stadium. "The Cauvery protests, too, have a reason. I am a protester myself but since I had bought these tickets well in advance, I am here to watch the match," Surya said.

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Kiran, who works with Dr. Mohan's Centre, said the protests have a reason. "It is about emotions. We have to also understand that people are getting arrested for a cause and it is bad. I have taken the decision to watch the match as stopping the match doesn't yield any results. I salute the police force for taking adequate measures," he said.

Avid CSK fan Jayashree, who has watched about 10 matches in the IPL over the years, said sports and politics shouldn't be missed. "There is no reason why sports should be targetted. There are many other ways to protest, but this is not acceptable. Cricketers should be able to do their job and let politicians do theirs. Why mix both?" she asked angrily.

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But, unmindful of the brouhaha, two fans from England, Ian and Colin, have come to soak in the atmosphere. While Ian had visited India earlier and supports Kolkata Knight Riders, this is Colin's first visit and he supports Chennai Super Kings. "In our opinion, the IPL is the best cricket league in the world. We came to India six days ago and watched the opener in Mumbai. We travelled to Punjab and now we are here. This is our last match before we leave to England," they said.

Colin says the fast-paced nature of the game has got him hooked to IPL. "It is exciting. The adrenalin is superb. There are big sixes as well as good bowling. It is much better than the British cricket experience. The lights and music add flavour," Colin said.