IPL returns to Chennai, Super Kings ready to resume love affair with Chepauk

first_imgIPL returns to Chennai, Super Kings ready to resume love affair with ChepaukChennai Super Kings are gearing up to play only their second match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in nearly four years. The MS Dhoni-led side will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening match of Indian Premier League 2019 at Chepauk on Saturdayadvertisement Akshay Ramesh ChennaiMarch 23, 2019UPDATED: March 23, 2019 14:55 IST Cricket fans in Chennai are gearing up to Chennai Super Kings’ home game against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday (Twitter Photo)The whistles are set to be back as a carnival-like atmosphere is expected in Chennai on Saturday. Indian Premier League (IPL) returns to the cricket-loving coastal city and Chennai Super Kings fans showed signs of what is to come when they filled the stands at MA Chidambaram Stadium during a training session of the home team on Sunday, leaving the cricket fraternity in awe.The buildup to the much-anticipated return of CSK to their fortress has been grand, to say the least. Thousands of fans forwent a night’s sleep and queued up in numbers to get their tickets for the IPL 2019 opener — a big-ticket clash between CSK and Royal Challengers Bangalore.It’s hard to believe that the MA Chidambaram Stadium, also known as Chepauk, hosted only one IPL match in the last four years. It’s even harder to describe what the fans had to go through when CSK were suspended over corruption for two years between 2016 and 2017.The iconic narrow lanes in Chepauk, including the Victoria Hostel Road, hadn’t hosted a sea of yellow during match days and ticket sales over the last three years. The roadside vendors, selling jerseys, and the ones who are ever-ready to paint your faces yellow outside the MA Chidambaram Stadium were deprived of seasonal income.As I’m suffering from #Yellove! #WhistlePodu #CSKvRCB ???? pic.twitter.com/N3Q2lHi3jPChennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 23, 2019The #Yellove on the faces of all the kids out there defines #Thala and the #AnbuDen! #WhistlePodu ???? pic.twitter.com/u1ZLwk9lSRadvertisementChennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) March 22, 2019Nonetheless, CSK’s loyal fans made sure the buzz around the franchise was kept alive even during their absence. In fact, CSK’s official fan club — Chennai Super Kings Fan Club — was formed in 2016. The fan club, also known as Whistle Podu Army on social media, grew in numbers before CSK returned in 2018.CSK’s homecoming in IPL 2018 though ended in heartbreak as Dhoni’s men were forced to shift their home games out of Chennai due to protests over long-standing Cauvery water issue. Only one match — CSK’s five-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders — was played in Chennai before Dhoni’s men found home in Pune.There was a similar buzz around CSK’s return to Chennai last year. Fans had turned up in huge numbers to watch a practice session last year as well. In fact, Dhoni and his men had taken an open bus journey from the team hotel to the stadium and thousands lined up along the streets to greet their superstars.Not just all roads, but even the tracks lead to #Chepauk to fill the stadium #YelloveAgain. #WhistlePodu @ChennaiIPL #CSKvRCB #DhoniVsKohli pic.twitter.com/jWyEaCMVYRWhistle Podu Army ® – CSK Fan Club (@CSKFansOfficial) March 23, 2019After waiting two years for the team’s return, CSK fans were left distraught but that didn’t stop them from travelling to Pune in specially-arranged trains to support their team at its new home.One of the most-recognised cricket fans in the country, Super Fan Saravanan Hari was more relieved than happy when he got to know CSK will be playing their full-quota of home matches in Chennai in IPL 2019.Hari, who couldn’t wait to paint himself yellow and cheer for MS Dhoni in Chepauk on Saturday, said CSK fans are gearing up for a “family reunion”.”For me, it’s like a reunion of family members after almost a year. For three years, we haven’t been able to witness this at home. Very happy that matches are being played at home. We just want to create a carnival-like atmosphere,” Hari told indiatoday.in.It’s not surprising that most of the CSK players also felt the disappointment of not playing at home over the last three years. They managed to adapt to Pune and find quick success at their new base last year. But nothing comes close to playing at home in front of their fans and the whistles.It’s easy for away teams to get overawed by the love affair between CSK and their fans. Virat Kohli’s RCB are first in the line to face the test on Saturday!Also Read | IPL 2019: Chepauk is CSK’s fortress. RCB face uphill taskAlso Read | Onus on Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers as RCB seek to end 5-year drought vs CSKAlso See:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAkshay Ramesh Tags :Follow Chennai Super KingsFollow IPL 2019Follow CSK vs RCBFollow CSK fansFollow Whistle Podu ArmyFollow ChepaukFollow MA Chidambaram StadiumFollow MS Dhonilast_img read more