“I turned into a MS Dhoni fan while watching the 2006 ODI series in Pakistan on TV – his power-hitting, flamboyance and long hair – and that only grew as he led the country to the ICC World Twenty20 title the following year. So much so, that I prayed that Chennai Super Kings would bag him at the player auction ahead of the inaugural 2008 IPL season. Looking back, it was double delight for me: Chennai having a team and Dhoni in it,” recollected ARR Sriram.
“As a fan of the Lions it has been a wonderful ride in the opening decade, so many memories, so many winning moments – two IPL crowns, four runners-up finishes and Playoffs in all eight seasons – really, what else can one ask for,” added the 26-year-old, who works for a sports analytics company in Chennai.
“In fact, after the seventh season, another Superfan Prabhu Damodharan and I brought out a souvenir scrapbook capturing the side’s best moments. Titled “Super 7 Years: Not just a Team but a Super Family”, we even got it autographed by Dhoni and Suresh Raina,” continued Sriram.
“The beauty of CSK is that the team management knows how to create a champion outfit and, with that, champion players. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja became top international names after first donning the Yellow while Faf (du Plessis), Dwayne Bravo and Jason Holder went on to lead their respective national sides.
“Having a management that understands the game clearly makes a big difference. You see that in CSK retaining the core of the side over eight seasons. Coach Stephen Fleming’s man-management has been spectacular and the support staff members, each one of them has been wonderful. You realise they all are pulling in the same direction and that the team’s success is what’s primary to them. The bonding is exceptional.”
Sriram was a regular at CSK’s home games over eight seasons and frequently travelled to Bengaluru along with other CSK fans to cheer the Lions at battle at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
“The CSK Fan Club on social media turned out to be a great way for our huge fan base to stay in touch, rekindling memories, especially with the Lions missing the last two seasons,” Sriram said. “It’s exciting that CSK will be back in the upcoming season and I’m sure that the team management will pick a great side like they did in the opening decade,” he concluded.