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Leaving Chennai was always going to be tough for the Chennai Super Kings players who would now be playing their left home games at their new adopted home in Pune. Tamil Nadu in the past few weeks has seen massive protest relating to the Cauvery water protest, with even the state police failing to assure protection to the fans and players during the games at the Chepauk Stadium in Chennai, the BCCI and the IPL council on Thursday decided to shift games to Pune. The move came days after MS Dhoni, the CSK skipper had expressed his love for the city and the fans in an emotional post-match interview after winning his first game of the season at the Chepauk against Kolkata Knight Riders.
It was good till it lasted for the cricket fans in Chennai who flocked in huge numbers and painted the Chepauk yellow not just in the game against KKR but also during the practice session and the practice matches. Fans were seen being thrashed outside the Chepauk while a shoe was hurled at CSK star Ravindra Jadeja inside the stadium during the game. BCCI and IPL making a quick decision decided on Pune, to be the neutral venue for Chennai’s home game for the rest of the season, depriving their beloved fans of the cricketing action they had waited to see for two years.
While the fans have been left disheartened by the move, so have been the CSK players who wanted to repay the enthusiastic home crowd with deserved cricket. From Suresh Raina to Sam Billings, the CSK players took to social media to express their love for their home fans. “Will miss playing on our home ground and entertaining our Chennai fans this season. You are always in our hearts. On to Pune now,” tweeted Suresh Raina, who is fondly called the ‘China Thala’ or the small boss by the CSK fans who rate him highly for his contributions in the team’s success over the years. Raina who has not been on top of his game recently picked a calf injury during the game between KKR and will be missing two upcoming games after being ruled out for 10 days.
Sam Billings, who blasted a quickfire 23-ball 56 to put Chennai Super Kings in a comfortable position to win the game against KKR also was left gutted to know that the team was leaving Chennai, he also put out a message on Twitter for the fan who was hurt in the protest and was admitted in a hospital. “Gutted that we have had to move from Chepauk, the atmosphere was unbelievable! Thoughts with the fan who was badly hurt last night, no one should go to watch & end up in hospital. Hope he recovers soon & all issues are resolved. Keep supporting us it makes a huge difference! “Billings wrote in a tweet after making a place for himself in the heart of the CSK fans with a solid display with the bat in the KKR win.
Ace South African spinner Imran Tahir, who had completely immersed himself in the Chennai Super Kings colours also wrote a message for fans on Twitter and said he was extremely sad to leave Chennai. Tahir’s South African counterpart Faf Du Plessis who is recovering from an injury and is yet to feature for the Super Kings in this season of the IPL, said he was sad the team will not be able to come back to Chennai this season. “Sad to be leaving Chennai and not be able to come back this season,” wrote du Plessis in a tweet. “Extremely sad to leave Chennai. All I got here is warm welcome and unconditional love. Hopefully, everything will be good when we come back here next year. Please keep supporting us,” tweeted Imran Tahir.