'Kalaignar' Karunanidhi had special connection with MS Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings (Photo: PTI)
When a young Karunanidhi became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu 47 years ago supported wholeheartedly by his two-like minded companions-cum-ministers in his cabinet, the trio would visit the Chepauk Cricket stadium to show their affection towards the Gentlemen’s game. The two companions of 'Kalaignar' Karunanidhi were S Madhavan and PU Shanmugan, both passionate followers of cricket. The trio rarely missed a game, if not in the stadium, they would passionately listen to the commentary.
In 2014, Karunanidhi took to Twitter and posted a picture of himself reading Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography ‘Playing it my way’ and praising him for his down to earth nature despite such huge success in his career.
The five-time CM of Tamil Nadu had always experienced a hectic schedule, but he would somehow take out time to experience the love for cricket.
The DMK supremo had even re-scheduled and cancelled appointments during important matches.
Karunanidhi was extremely emotional when it came to cricket. Whenever the Indian team lose, he would be very angry and tried to figure it out by himself why the team ended up on the losing side.
"You (Sachin) have walked into history and history is bejewelled by your presence. It is quite natural that the Government of India has announced the Bharat Ratna for you in recognition of your unmatched records. You have set grand standards, have received d book #Playingitmyway, the autobiography written & published recently @sachin_rt,” he had tweeted after Sachin’s emotional retirement speech.
A few years back he was asked who his favourite cricketer was, his answer was ‘Balaji’. But one cricketer who was closer to his passion and heart was MS Dhoni, Chennai’s adopted son-in-law and the skipper of Chennai Super Kings. Kalaignar often used to visit stadiums but after surgery couple of years back, the DMK chief stopped going there.
After India’s historic 2011 World Cup triumph, Karunanidhi awarded Dhoni and his team an eye-boggling Rs 3 crore as a token of gift. He also awarded Ravichandran Ashwin Rs 1 crore for his contribution.