IPL in UAE: Chennai players on a road from obscurity to become Super Kings

Dubai: If one wants to take a road from obscurity to a Super King, then all one has to do is play for Chennai. Ask the less-than-stellar Yellow Lions stars Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla and Ambati Rayudu, they will vouch for it as they are overwhelmed by the love and affection showered by the hard-core Whistlepodu fans.

A video was released on the Chennai Super Kings twitter handle on Sunday, incidentally a day after Madras Day, where the players heap praise on the city. Chennai, formerly known as Madras, celebrates August 22 every year as Madras Day as it is the widely agreed date for the purchase of the village of Madraspatnam or Chennapatnam by the East India Company in 1639.

Although the stars are in quarantine in Dubai ahead of Indian Premier League 13, being held across the UAE from September 19, the video was shot with players talking on the hallowed turf of Chepauk, the Lions’ den.

Chahar, who hails from Rajasthan, said: “My father came to Chennai for an eye treatment. He was curious to know how many people knew me in Chennai and was asking the cleaners in the hospital to find out. Everyone knew me! It’s really a big thing for me.

“When you are flying to Chennai you feel that you are going home. The love here is more than what we get in the hometown.”

Chawla, the Indian leg-spinner, said: “You will find CSK fans everywhere. It only happens with CSK with other teams it would never happen.

“It’s a very peaceful place and the people here are gentle.”

Rayudu, who hails from Hyderabad and has visited Chennai several times to play matches from junior level, said: “Chennai people are very emotional. I always thought that Chepauk appreciated good cricket and they are very not vocal. They are good watchers of the game.”

Rayudu who loves to visit Elliott’s Beach — popularly known as the Besant Nagar beach — and enjoys the food at Murugan Idly shop and at the several other popular restaurants that offer various delicacies across the city. Incidentally, Rayudu scored his first hundred at the true-bounce pitches of Chepauk when he played for his state at the junior level.

The video concluded with Suresh Raina, who is hailed as a Chinna Thala (assistant leader) by the legion of Chennai fans, wishing the fans a happy Madras Day.

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