MS Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings practised to packed audiences at Chepauk before the start of the 2019 Indian Premier League. (Image credit: Chennai IPL Twitter)
When one looks at the dynamics of cricket crowds for matches, any international match involving India with other nations results in sold-out stadiums. However, the dynamics at the MA Chidambaram stadium in Chepauk is totally different. This is the home venue of the Chennai Super Kings, the franchise led by the inspirational MS Dhoni. For their practice session alone, over 12,000 people turn up to watch their favorite heroes practice. Chennai Super Kings made a return to the IPL in 2018 after serving a two-year ban due to the spot-fixing scandal in the 2013 IPL and this has once again resulted in fans turning up in large numbers.
Chepauk has been starved of action for a very long time. In 2018, the first match between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders witnessed a thriller and CSK won the match. However, the rest of the games were moved out of the city due to protests by political parties over the Kaveri issue. One will be hoping that in 2019, Chennai Super Kings play all their home games at Chepauk and they will get the chance to play the final in front of their adoring home fans.
The #SuperPractice that was! A single innings affair where the Batting Lions took on the Bowling Lions amidst a turnout of over 12,000 at the #AnbuDen! And the Lions won by a margin of #Yellove to the power of infinity! #WhistlePodu 🦁💛 pic.twitter.com/wi3rQVBlgQ— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 18, 2019
Before the start of the 2019 IPL, the team indulged in a practice session. There were two teams, the batting XI and the bowling XI and they battled it out. Nearly 15000 people turned up and the players had plenty of fun. The CSK CEO, Kasi Viswanathan, was in attendance greeting the players. There was also a moment when a fan tried to catch MS Dhoni yet again. In the Ranchi ODI, one fan had breached the security and tried to catch Dhoni but he proved to be unsuccessful. In Chepauk, another fan tried to catch Dhoni and the former Indian skipper dodged him successfully, sometimes using bowling coach L Balaji as a shield.
The Batting Lions squad were boosted by a knock of 56 from Suresh Raina and it included six sixes. However, the result was immaterial for the official Twitter handle of CSK said, ‘Batting Lions won by a margin of yellove to the power of inifinity.’
The love and admiration shown by the fans of CSK, even for a practice session, has shown that MS Dhoni’s side is truly the spirit of the IPL.