CHEPAUK SALUTES LEGENDS
This Chepauk buzz is something else. The Chennai Super Kings is alive and kicking, still riding on its talisman MS Dhoni’s tactical brilliance on the field. However, the ticketing frenzy off it left the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association on the hook before CSK clashed with arch-rival Mumbai Indians. A TNCA official shares his plight, “People from far away call every day and say, ‘Sir, if you promise one (ticket), I’m booking my trip right away.’ The online tickets are selling like hot cakes, but nobody knows a person who’s succeeded in securing one.”
Far from the madness, the host association has silently embellished some corners of the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium with an artistic dive into its glorious past. Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘99 classic adorns the interiors of the media centre, while epochal memories make beautiful murals outside the practice facility. Gavaskar-Srikkanth, Hirwani and Harbhajan — all find a special abode. Even MSD’s Test double hundred at the ground found its rightful place in pink at the Yellow Den.
ULTIMATE FAN SERVICE
Chennai Super Kings is not just one of the IPL’s most successful franchises but it boasts one of the strongest fan-bases as well. And the CSK management appreciates those fans. So much so, it flies a group of them to the venues where the franchise plays, for all the matches. They are put up in star hotels and paid a daily allowance. The Sportstar correspondent was on one of those flights carrying the CSK fans, all dressed in yellow. Shortly after the take-off, the pilot announced: Whistle Podu.
Among those fans travelling for the match against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur was Anoop Samraj from Coimbatore. “I was one of the five fans that formed the social media group for CSK fans that have now become the Whistle Podu Army, which has more than 2.4 million followers on Instagram,” says the young entrepreneur. “I have been a CSK fan right from the first edition of the IPL.”
The journey to Chepauk on CSK matchdays is more of a pilgrimage, with thousands thronging the stands to catch a glimpse of their demigod, MSD, perhaps in action for the very last time in yellow. One mention of Dhoni, even on the giant screen, is enough to send the crowd into delirium. One man who has added technicolour to all the oohs and aahs is KC Senthil Kumar, a.k.a. DJ Zen (pic, below), the official disc jockey of the Men in Yellow at home. Zen, who started playing at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium during the India vs Australia ODI in March, went viral when he timed one of music composer Anirudh Ravichander’s many hits to Dhoni’s entrance during a match against LSG. The lyrics “Once upon a time, there lived a ghost. He was known to be a killer... and feared the most...” came alive as Dhoni took guard. The song seemed to have had an effect on Captain Cool as well, who replied with back-to-back sixes over deep square leg and third man. “When it is Dhoni, extra care has to be taken. The music, and more importantly, the lyrics, must appeal to the crowd,” Zen says.
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