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Captain MS Dhoni leaves CSK with a legacy and beyond

Last updated on 24 Mar 2022 | 11:19 AM
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Captain MS Dhoni leaves CSK with a legacy and beyond

If you ever been to the Chepauk, the chants of “Dhoni, Dhoni, Dhoni” is and always will be undying

Goosebumps. Passion. Thala

Most of us would not have been to live theatre and some of us, would not have witnessed an opera live in our lifetime but if you have ever been to Chepauk, chances are that you would have witnessed the best of both worlds. MS Dhoni is an art, forget his captaincy, the man and the myth that surrounds him is an art in itself. 

It is almost unquantifiable. Maybe in the next ten-twenty years, all that the world would talk about him are the records but Dhoni is a level above all of that. Having been an ardent fan of the franchise over the past 14 years, from the age of ten, the 40-year-old will always be the world and beyond to the fans of the franchise.

Having been to Chepauk myself, I can attest to the fact that the crowd can shriek, even if the mercury levels are threateningly high, even if the soaring heat could dehydrate a lot. And one word that I have, time and again, over and again uttered and heard myself, “Dhoni”. 

India is indeed a country where cricket is more than just a sport. And Dhoni is a religion for a lot. Several billboards, several calm and composed finishes later, the time has come to say goodbye to Dhoni, the leader.


It is a sight that the CSK fans were well aware of and yet were in denial that the day would never happen. He was already 40, pushing the worst possible side of the age barometer in a competition that demands exceedingly a lot. At some point, he had to step down from the leadership but every CSK fan wanted it to be “next year”. 

And for some, that “next year” would never arrive. Chennai and Dhoni, the city and the player were also a match made in heaven. While the cameras might not point a lot, the 40-year-old is quite expressive on the field. He might not be a man of words but if you ever witnessed a CSK game live, you would constantly notice the hand and the reaction. 

If he is angry, there will be a stare, if he is happy, there will be a tiny smile and if he is livid, well that definitely would be televised. Dhoni wasn’t always just a player at the franchise, he was almost born to lead CSK, to lead Chennai the city to greater sporting heights.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say “CSK is MSD and MSD is CSK.” 

While he did it first with cricket, he later did it with football. That was what the relation between Dhoni and Chennai was: inseparable. In 2011, when CSK won the title against RCB at home, it was euphoric. The roof at Chepauk came thundering down, the rousing applause made it feel like the move Gladiator was running on repeat. 

Chennai have won four IPL titles, two Champions League T20 titles and there would be two ways to go about it. The Chennai fans, with their eyes-closed will credit the win to the ‘Thala’, under whose guidance CSK turned the talented into superstars. And then there is the other side, the Thala side, where he will always credit the team, the players and the franchise for the success. 

Dhoni isn’t the one for success, heck, he would not even lift the trophy if it wasn’t mandatory for the captains to receive it. A large chunk of Dhoni’s success with the franchise is the trust-levels that both sides share. It is almost blinding. 


“Thala Paathupaaru”

When CSK CEO Kasi Vishwanath says, “Thala Paathupaaru” (Dhoni will take care), it really means Thala Paathupaaru, no one has to guide him. If you are a budding cricketer from Chennai, chances are that you would have wanted to be like Dhoni. 

As a layman watching cricket in the city would say, Captain aana, andha Dhoni maari dhan aaganum (If I become a captain, I should be like Dhoni), it goes on to show how Dhoni has driven the cricket-fanatic city Chennai into a complete lunatic. Chennai and Cricket often have gone hand-in-hand, word-in-word but now it is Chennai, Cricket, and Dhoni. 

And it wasn’t just that, the 40-year-old made several millions fall in love with the franchise, almost proving that love is universal. Every time when cricket was played at the Chepauk, the familiar sight of seeing Danny Morrison with Dhoni, shouting ‘Vanakam Chennai’ and Dhoni’s shy and timid, Eppidi Irukeenga (How are you) remarks will always reverberate with the fans. 

The franchise really made the 40-year-old smile, laugh and even cry (yes, he did), famously at the event before Chennai’s return to the IPL. He wanted to win an IPL at any cost after what had transpired prior to that, and he won two ever since. Dhoni’s touch is that, every cricketer wants to work with him, almost like it is a solution to turn their career’s fortune around. 


In 2019, there was a first-hand experience of what Dhoni meant to the city, nearly 20,000 fans turned up just to watch Chennai practise ahead of the first season at home. But since then, CSK have barely played at home but the fact that he is an icon of the biggest order, meant that every IPL game was a home game for the franchise. 

It didn’t matter if it was Chepauk, Wankhede, Chinnaswamy or even Dubai International Stadium, CSK fans were always there. It was always a home game for the franchise and the amplified cheer around the park, going ‘Dhoni, Dhoni’ was always almost certain to deafen you. 

Never has an ardent fan ever questioned Dhoni’s skills, even though Chennai in the past, have had a lot of ordinary Auctions. And never will anyone dare to question the audacious leader that is Dhoni. Hence, it is no surprise that CSK’s anthem, one that has been long-standing mentioned, has the verse “Enga Thala Dhoni ku periya whistle adinga”. 

No player is bigger than a franchise, ideally at least but with the 40-year-old and CSK, it is a case of exception. MS Dhoni might have passed the baton of captaincy to Ravindra Jadeja, one of his trusted allies but he will never be able to pass the baton of captaincy in the minds of the fans. 

While Dhoni will still be the leader of the group, the fact that he will no more be at the toss or the post-match presentation, wanting to just utter those words “Trust the process,” will always leave a lot of people sad. 

For the city of Chennai, the die-hard fans of the franchise and for the sake of long-living nostalgia, MS Dhoni will always be our Thala. And Chepauk will always echo the emotion every time CSK play in the future.

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