With the Indian Premier League set to begin this week, the returning Chennai Super Kings have been carrying out practice sessions at Chepauk Stadium in Chennai. But the massive fan following of the franchise which is returning to the lucrative T20 league after a hiatus of two years, has not seemed to be on the decline even a bit. The England batsman Sam Billings, who was bought by CSK for Rs 1 crore at the auction in January 2018, caught a glimpse of the same at a practice session at Chepauk Stadium on Monday.
In a post on Instagram, Billings shared a photo of himself and said that he was “amazed” to see a crowd of 10,000 people at a practice session. “Just a normal inter-squad centre wicket practice…. and 10,000 people rock up. amazing!”, the right-handed batsman wrote in the post.
In a video uploaded on CSK’s official Twitter account, Billings further went on to praise the atmosphere in Chennai. “Vanakkam Chennai. Great to be here. At practice match today, we did two innings, and the support was amazing. 10,000 people in just for a practice game. It’s been an amazing atmosphere, and now I am just really looking forward for the IPL to start. Great to be here, and what a great franchise,” he said.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) 1 April 2018
CSK is one of the most successful teams in IPL with two title victories. But the franchise faced backlash after it was embroiled in a spot-fixing controversy and was subsequently banned for two years. Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who led CSK as the captain to both the trophy wins in the past, will return to the team as the captain.
WATCH VIDEO | MS Dhoni gets emotional while speaking on CSK return
Dhoni, who played for Rising Pune Supergiant in the past two sessions, addressed the audience at an event in Chennai this past week and said that it was an emotional moment for him to get back to yellow jersey.
“As I said it was, I knew I would play for the Pune team but the actual moment comes when you start walking with the team-sheet in your hand till that point of time its only practice and everything. It was a very emotional moment…since I have started playing T20 cricket represented the Indian cricket team, Jharkhand team in few tournaments and CSK for eight years, so it was an emotional moment not to see myself in yellow,” he said.
The Indian Premier League 2018 season will begin from April 7 with CSK taking on defending champions Mumbai Indians in the season-opener.