Congratulations on completing 12 ‘yellove’ly years.
What an amazing journey it has been so far. There were peaks and valleys, you continued your journey and never stopped from being committed to the game of cricket. In fact, those ebbs and flows made us connect even strongly.
I still remember it so very vividly. The buzz around our miraculous T20 World Cup win hadn’t died down and Dhoni’s star had just struck to the cosmos that Indian cricket was taking the next steps to ensconce itself in the stratosphere with the introduction of the Indian Premier League.
The IPL was formulated with eight franchises among which our Chennai was christened as “Chennai Super Kings”. While the name struck an instant connection with Chennaiites, the purchase of MS Dhoni for $1.5 million from the other seven competing franchises sent us all into frenzy. Here was the rising star of World Cricket representing us in our yard, and better yet, will be leading us out into the greens; it set the tone for what was to be an inextricable combination that continues to this day. I would even say Chennai pulled off an all different season of “Money Heist” way before the creators even thought about it, CSK put that into action with the team led by the “Professor” Kasi Viswanathan.
Trust me, that kid was so annoyed for picking a yellow colour jersey who had no clue about what yellow, willow or the game of Cricket was going to mean to her for the next 12 years or so.
Right. The team is set; the time has come to get going. As a 11-year old, on the afternoon of 19 April 2008, I sat in front of the TV set as our first game in the IPL doled out against our Punjab namesakes and CSK posted a massive total of 240 which set them on their way to reaching the inaugural finals of the IPL against Rajasthan Royals. Arguably the two teams who were least expected to make the finals with many important players pulling out in between the season, but then it wasn’t to be our day and heartbreakingly so, although the 12-year old in me wasn’t mature enough to take the defeat then, it made me realise that this stemmed out of an unfiltered sense of love and connection that I felt towards the yellow jersey. We were introduced to an era of domination and success and more importantly of unbridled joy and togetherness.
Champions and beyond - 2010 & 2011
2010 reinforced that fact as CSK made it one better than the previous two seasons by winning the title in Mumbai, the first, which made it special considering where we had to pull ourselves back from. Yes, remember Dharamshala?
What a game, what a knock by Dhoni. A perfect embodiment of “cometh the hour, cometh the man.” Perhaps it was the first moment that made us take notice of the speciality and the team both possess to wriggle out of tough situations and finish which have been a trademark of both parties to a level unmatched by any other team bar maybe Mumbai in the IPL.
The final whizzed past me and all that I remember is that moment when big Kieron Pollard is caught in possibly the straightest mid-off I have ever seen (I had started learning cricket positions by then). Catch done, match won, CHAMPIONS. A habit we would set in the years to come.
Years flowed, we won titles, and we went out in acrimonious circumstances, came back in heroic circumstances and are still the only team to make the playoff in every season we have featured in. Drink that in among the other innumerable records that we have been part of making since the inception of this team. We have been part of titles, agonizing defeats in finals and countless memorable comebacks that form part of our storied history and the golden folklore.
From exile to the throne
After officially getting back into the fold, Journey to #Summerof18 was an absolute fairy tale.
07/04/2018 - THIRUMBI VANDHA NAAL.
2018. Wow. Nothing else comes to our minds than seeing our team coming back, after a two-year exile, MS Dhoni back as captain and spinning off the most memorable stories in IPL’s history. Being the first team to qualify for the final to winning the trophy, announced the world that we are back was indeed a special Kannla thanni moment. #ThirumbiVanthutenuSollu Tagline gave whole another level of Goosebumps after the Triumph in the end on 27th May, 2018.
CSK IS NOT ONLY IPL TITLES AND RECORDS
As DJ Bravo put it out so well in a recent Instagram Live session, it’s a family. A family full of love, care, and affection. Everyone has something to recount and something memorable to count when they are in Chennai.
“Vandharai vazhavaikum Chennai” meaning “The city which makes people thrive” is proven by the statements of every player recounts hundreds of stories of being welcomed with great warmth and affection by the city and the fans and is quickly held to our faith, respect and love. All our players past and present, home and abroad, consider Chennai to be their second home. A trend not so common with other teams.
Our respect doesn’t only remain dormant to our players but for quality from the opposition as well which have made us be in the good mentions of many players and experts alike who have always held the Chennai crowds in high regard from Sachin Tendulkar to Yuvraj Singh who considers Chennai to be one of the best stadium in the world.
WHAT SETS US APART IS NOT OUR VICTORIES ALONE BUT OUR TEAM’S CONNECTION WITH EACH OTHER AND THE COMMUNITY.
How thousands throng towards the stadium even for the practice session and how Every fan is attached to the team?
CSK's return in 2018 played on the emotions of fans and an understanding franchise like CSK saw this as the best opportunity to get the faith back together. Boy, how the fans obliged? Full stadiums even for practice matches, every session being adorned with fans in every corner in the stadium. It was what kept the players going. Every session, Every game, Everywhere the team went we were there, and for us, you were there. What a touch of class from either side that came together to spur on 22 players in their quest for glory, it made everyone take notice that CSK is more than just those players.
Dear "LEO", Being CSK is what makes you best from the rest
Call me boastful but there is no match for the social connection when it comes to CSK. The love and the reciprocation of which has been showered on both sides is nothing short of a beautiful relationship akin to family. Exactly. We have established a family with our beloved players and our be'leo'ved social media admins. The fans of CSK are the epicentre of all craze that surrounds the team and the unadulterated infatuation that the players and fans of the team have come to have off each other which reached its peak in our return season of 2018. We return to our hallowed turf in Chennai and then comes the local Cauvery dispute that spoils our return party which was set in motion with our massive win in the only “home” game we played. The team left for Pune but the love usurped the feeling of “abandonment” as fans thronged to Pune in #WhistlePoduExpress for the remaining matches. All this from CSK who on popular demand, booked a whole train for travelling passengers and also managed accommodation and travel for the grateful fans.
Where else do you see the away team get the same support as the home team does?
We have crazy fans both home and away and that stems from our magnificent social media team that is the perfect example of the social forums. They respond to us and take note of the love that surrounds the team and keeps them at their best at all times. CSK is not just the culmination of 22 players and a few coaching staff. It is the culmination of millions of emotions that surround the atmosphere in Chennai and anywhere the team goes. Our love and passion are the extra man in the team’s performances. Through success and failures, through highs and lows, through cries and laughs, we have made our way into the 13th year of this lovely “marriage” I can say where companionship, love, success and togetherness has been testament to the relationship between us and the team.
It takes me through all memories that I look back with great relish and content at the team with whom I have spent the majority of my lifetime and have so much to count on from the past, in the present and for the future. CSK is here to stay, no one stays in our way.
I may be a small drop, but every CSK fan feels attached to you as if they run the team and those aggregate to form the sea of supporters and well-wishers. It is necessary to feel important as a fan, trust me there is no bigger tribute or approval of validation for a fan than that you made sure that there is no compromise in it. When you turn back and look at those decade old memories, every single season I grew up with you as a fan and as well as a person. You were a major part of my childhood. Your never-ending fighting spirit till the end became a way of life, it might sound cliché but there I said it. Oh, come on what is love when there is no cliché in it.
Our love and positivity keep the team away from any negativity and ill-will and any detractors stay away at arm’s length. But we always lend them a hand with friendship and love and get them to be one among us.
Thank you for every little gesture you've made so far to connect with us Leo. We are in this together and we are in this for life. The Whistles, songs, lores of history and the chants of Thala, Chinna Thala and “CSK-CSK” will be reverberating wherever we go and are. Whistlepodu express will always run ahead of the rest without any stoppage in steam
Your ardent fan,