MS Dhoni and Chennai is a love story. A feeling that transcends everything. The city not only extended its arms to the former India skipper when he first donned the yellow of Chennai Super Kings, but also showered him with so much love that it has now forced him to delay his IPL retirement, and Permitting, completed a final. Time.
Wherever he went in the last two months, fans followed him. He used to give a deafening roar whenever he went out to bat. For him, it was not the number of runs he scored or the number of sixes he hit, but the presence that made his day and gave him memories to last a lifetime. Ever since they started ruling their hearts in 2008, they have gathered memories and then become an essential part of their lives.
Dhoni’s bond with his fans and with the whole of Chennai goes back generations. Children, youth, middle aged, old, it is compatible and has not run into the barrier of culture, religion and language. The unorthodox brand of cricket they played helped but it is the simplicity and demeanor – both on and off the field – that planted the seeds for a long-lasting relationship. A relationship that is good and truly aging like fine wine.
Over the last ten days, spread across Chennai and Ahmedabad, we spoke to many people who have a Dhoni story to tell. Be it the owner of the sports shop near Chepauk or the various staff members of the Crowne Plaza Hotel or the members of the mighty CSK fan army, it was simplicity first that inspired them and then the consistency in that simplicity that kept them connected with Dhoni. very long.
“I still remember that during one late night order – for some cutlery and ice – Dhoni himself came down to collect the goods when we were a little late. He knew where the room service section was and made a reminder call. didn’t and instead came down himself. When he came down we were a little speechless but then he said, ‘It’s okay, it’s not a big deal. I knew how not to bother you, ’” recalls a hospitality member of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chennai, where CSK stayed for close to a decade.
For him, it was kind of surprising to see the door of his room open almost all the time. The hotel has treated a lot of high-profile guests, and still does, but Dhoni is the one who maintained the open door policy and made it so comfortable for everyone around him.
“He stayed in one of the presidential suites – his favorite room. Favorite why because it was close to the team room on the same floor so it was easy to access. Then this room was bigger so there was a place where he could sit and talk with teammates Could have conversations and hold those little meetings. We rarely saw the room closed. It was like an open door policy where anyone could come in for a chat,” said Anand, general manager of Crowne Plaza Hotel Nair says.
From the security guard to the cook to the coffee guy, everyone had a story of Dhoni with simplicity being the common denominator. Simplicity that drives thousands more to stadiums and billions more glued to their TV sets. In conversation with Super Fan Saravanan Hari says News18 Cricket NextEveryone knows Dhoni for six to sixty years.
“He has become a part of our families. And everyone knows Dhoni for six to sixty years. I think there is an old prophecy that says ‘Vandharai Vazhavaikum Tamizh Naadu’ (The land that nurtures those who come Whoever comes to our soil, returns a respected person,” Saravanan had said.
Ranchi boy… Chennai ka Thala
The Ranchi boy made India dream big with his exploits on the field, but the tall man under the helmet was destined for greatness that knew no bounds. No wonder the bike-loving youngster became the most loved figure in Chennai, and slowly rose to prominence as Thala!
Thala… is the leader. someone who leads a group. Dhoni has always been the leader of the Indian cricket team and then Chennai Super Kings, but his journey in Thala and beyond is a testament to the countless lives he has touched and influenced.
For that one Dhoni look, one Dhoni touch, fans are ready to take everything. Be it traveling thousands of miles for that one glimpse or standing under the sun, and even in the incessant rain that Ahmedabad witnessed during the final, fans have traveled great distances to write their own Dhoni story.
Nabeel VP will surely be among some of the key people. The soft-spoken man from Kerala went to Shimla to meet his idol for a few minutes. For him, meeting the CSK skipper was a dream come true and patting the idol on the back, an act of touch that he still vividly remembers, was an encouragement he would never forget.
Nabeel says, “I took a flight ticket to Delhi and waited at the boarding gate and that’s when I saw him,” and told him ‘Mahi bhai, I am coming from Kerala’ and then he asked, ‘You are coming to Kerala’ From?’ And I showed him some files of our work and at that moment I felt like I was in heaven.
He said (patting my shoulder) ‘Keep up the good work’. Then I asked him for a picture in that file. But he wanted to keep the file as a memory. I gave him my memento to sign and then clicked a photo.
Three years after that memorable meeting, Nabeel remembers it as if it happened yesterday and there was a different twinkle in his eyes when he narrated the entire incident.
‘I just want to touch Dhoni…’
A few years ago, another woman showed some kind of guts at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chennai when she jumped over the human chain and security cover for CSK’s arrival after the match, just to meet and “touch Dhoni”. The security personnel were shocked but when they were trying to pull him away from the CSK skipper,”rehne doThat’s fine” came a polite response from Dhoni which increased his love and respect for him.
“I still remember there was a huge crowd during the arrival of the CSK team after the game. A large number of people gathered for the cake cutting ceremony. Some were living with us and some were from outside. We had proper security arrangements – human chain, police and other hotel security including staff members – no intrusion. While the cake was being cut, a middle-aged woman took a few steps back, ran and jumped over the human chain. This surprised us. We couldn’t do much and when we tried to pull him, Dhoni said.Rehne do, This is right’. When she was leaving she said that I want to touch Dhoni just once. That’s all,” recalls a very old staff member at Crowne Plaza, who has had the experience of staying closely at several CSK hotels.
The list goes on and on. Every man, woman and child has a Dhoni story. The story that ensured so much support in the stands that CSK fans donned the host jersey every time. The fans made sure that the sea of yellow and the chants of “Dhoni, Dhoni” are a constant and ensured that Dhoni is not done yet and will turn one last time to gift the fans, he has not only sent them , rather this edition but in the last 16 seasons of IPL (two of which were with Rising Pune Supergiants).
“It will be like a gift from my side, it is not easy for me but it is a gift. The way he has shown his love and affection, I feel I should do something for him,” Dhoni said on May 29. said at the post-match presser of the IPL 2023 final between CSK and Gujarat Titans.
Now that they have found out, the brawls will only get louder and fans will leave no stone unturned to keep the love affair alive.