Four-time champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) celebrated their IPL 2021 trophy win with Tamil Nadu CM Stalin at a glittering ceremony, here on Saturday.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu presented mementos to CSK players MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Shardul Thakur, Karn Sharma, Bhagat Verma and KM Asif, and members of the support staff L Balaji, Dr. R.N Baba, Dr. Madhu, N Sanjay, and Lakshminarayanan, in the presence of captain MS Dhoni, N Srinivasan, Rupa Gurunath, Jay Shah, Brijesh Patel, Kapil Dev, and others.
Under the leadership of Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings won their fourth IPL title defeating Kolkata Knight Riders in the final on October 15 in Dubai. The Chennai Super Kings had earlier won the tournament in 2010, 2011, and 2018 apart from winning the Champions League T20 in 2010 and 2014.
“I have come here as a fan of Dhoni. Not just me, my grandchildren have come here as Dhoni fans too. Even my father, Dr. Kalaignar was a fan of Dhoni. I have come here with happiness and pride. I am happy to have got the opportunity to congratulate the winners of IPL 2021 – Chennai Super Kings,” said CM Stalin at the felicitation ceremony, hosted by India Cements Ltd, which has completed 75 years.
“I have come here to praise Dhoni. Dhoni’s home state is Jharkhand. But now he has more or less become a Chennai-ite. Dear Dhoni, you might be from Jharkhand. But we the people of Tamil Nadu love you as one among us.
“Under captain Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings have risen again. Tamizh people see Dhoni as one among them because he has reached top heights hailing from a small town with his hard work. Apart from being a brilliant finisher and wicketkeeper, Dhoni is also a top captain. I thank everyone for the memorable opportunity. Dear Dhoni, we want you to lead CSK for many more seasons,” he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, N Srinivasan, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, India Cements Ltd, said that CSK treats victory and defeat as two sides of the same coin.
“Everybody had written us off but all of us had faith in the team. I always tell people that we own the franchise, not the players. No player wants to lose. Therefore, we treat victory and defeat as two sides of the same coin,” said Srinivasan.
The former BCCI president also spoke about the relationship between the India Cements family and MS Dhoni.
“I could not go for the first set of auctions. I told VB Chandrasekhar, at any cost, MS Dhoni. It turns out that was the best decision I ever took. Everybody wanted MS Dhoni but we got MS Dhoni. That is how the relationship between the India Cements family and MS Dhoni started. At no point in time during our entire period, we have disappointed MS Dhoni and he has never disappointed us,” he said.
Sharing his learning from Chennai, former India, and CSK captain MS Dhoni said that city taught him a lot.
“As far as Chennai is concerned, the association started in 2008 when it came to the IPL. But it started before that when it came to other formats…one of the most memorable being my Test debut, which happened in Chennai. I never knew that I would be picked by CSK. I was in the auction, I got picked,” said Dhoni.
“It gave me an opportunity to understand the culture which was very different from where I actually came from. I believe Chennai taught me a lot. Tamil Nadu taught me a lot,” he added.
CSK failed to qualify for playoffs for the first time in 2020, and according to Dhoni, it gave them the chance to test the real character of the franchise.
“We had a very good run from 2008 when it came to franchise cricket but it became interesting in 2020. It was the first season we didn’t qualify to the next stage of the IPL. It gave us the chance to test the real character of the franchisee because when the going is good you always keep talking about what you do, what is the process you follow but it gives us the opportunity to earn the respect of the players and the fans,” he said.
Talking about his future at the CSK, Dhoni said, “I have always planned my cricket. The last game that I played was in Ranchi. The last ODI…was at my hometown in Ranchi. So hopefully my last T20, it will be in Chennai…whether it’s next year ‘r in five years’ time, we don’t know.”
Jay Shah, the Secretary of BCCI, said he was keen to see the love and affection of Tamil Nadu people for the Chennai Super Kings.
“When I was invited for this wonderful function, the first thing I was looking forward to seeing was the love and affection the people of Tamil Nadu had for the franchisee Chennai Super Kings.
“The connection between fans and the franchisee is magical…Why not…when you are having a captain like MS Dhoni. The’way N Srinivasan built the team, it’s not just a team but a family – a family that comes from different parts of the world and sticks together through thick and thin. A lot of credit for CSK’s success over the years will go to Mr. Srinivasan because he stood by his team through difficult times,” he said.
Calling Dhoni, the heartbeat and backbone of CSK, Shah said that Mahi is the most successful captain India has ever produced.
“The system that he has set and the culture the team has developed will always give a result – be it for India or for Chennai Super Kings. The bond he has built and the legacy he has created will stay for ages,” he said.