Chennai Super Kings’ two year ban from the IPL officially ended on Thursday, July 13th, and the franchise is already making plans for its return to the tournament next season.
Chennai Super Kings Cricket Limited (CSKCL), the company that runs the team has getting MS Dhoni to be a part of the team as its top priority. Although the policy for retention hasn’t been finalized by the BCCI yet ahead of next season, CSK’s management is hoping to bring back some members of the team and the support staff from when they played their last match in the IPL. A report in cricbuzz.com quoted K George John, one of the directors of CSKCL saying, “If we are given an option of retaining a player, it will definitely be Dhoni. We haven’t yet discussed with Dhoni as his contract with Pune Supergiant ends later this year. However, we will speak to him in the future.”
CSK lost its last IPL match to Mumbai Indians in the final in 2015, and is thinking of retaining some of the same members of the support staff from that year. Stephen Fleming (head coach), Andy Bichel (bowling coach), Steve Rixon (fielding coach) and Lakshmi Narayanan (analyst) were part of the core team for many years at CSK. John added, “For us, loyalty is very important. That’s been our strength over the years. Though we haven’t yet taken a final decision on the support staff, we are definitely thinking of retaining the old support staff.”
John also outlined plans for how the franchise will start interacting with fans once again, and spoke about how ‘brand CSK’ hasn’t taken a hit at all despite two years of absence. “On Friday, we will have two activities on social media to mark the team’s return. ‘Super Moments’ will revisit our title wins, Ashwin-Gayle saga and a few others. Then we will ask fans to send their Super Selfie with CSK stars and with yellow jersey. We have got a lot of inquiries from various sponsors. We have had tremendous support from the sponsors and the fans have been phenomenal in supporting us. We look up to this TNPL period for conducting some interaction sessions. For example, if Hayden is here then we can plan a CSK get-together. We are still figuring out other options.”
Meanwhile, the excitement is palpable among fans of CSK. H Saravanan, who has thousands of fans across Tamil Nadu as part of the CSK fan club said, “The entire CSK family is thrilled. Enga thala (Our hero) Dhoni will be back with us. We have been waiting for this very day for the past two years. I think even Mumbai Indians will be pleased with the return of CSK! The rivalry is back. Instead of wasting money on CSK celebrations and crackers, we (fans) have decided to support a few orphanages. If we as CSK and Dhoni fans start doing such good stuff for society such as blood donation camps, then it will start a trend wherein fans of other cricketers too will follow our footsteps.”