My hero, my ‘Thala’: Meet three MS Dhoni superfans

Ahead of the IPL 2021, we chat with three followers of Chennai Super Kings’ MS Dhoni, who’ve gone the additional mile for his or her cricketing icon

The previous few months have been wonderful for Indian cricket with memorable wins towards Australia and England. None of them featured MS Dhoni who has formally retired from all types of worldwide cricket.

And but, when a video of Dhoni beginning coaching for IPL 2021 in Chennai’s Chepauk emerged, it despatched followers right into a tizzy. Earlier this week, Chennai Super Kings’ official Instagram deal with posted a video of him belting sixes throughout a apply session with the caption ‘Thala Paraak…’, borrowing a Rajinikanth line from Petta. That Dhoni and his Yellow Army are much-loved in Chennai is well-known. But the cricketer and CSK have has followers all throughout the nation, a few of whom have gone to excessive lengths to show their love. MetroPlus chats with three followers who spell out their IPL mantra for the upcoming season:

Harnam Kaur, Una (Himachal Pradesh)

Every weekend in Una, 28-year-old Harnam Kaur gathers a couple of of her lady pals to play cricket of their neighbourhood. What is particular, you would possibly ask. They all put on shiny yellow Chennai Super Kings T-shirts with ‘Dhoni’ written on it.

Harnam’s liking for Dhoni began when she was at school six; she remembers being glued to the TV watching him again then. What began off as a mere ‘yes, I like him’ went on to grow to be an fascination: she was quickly gathering posters, watching no matter interviews he gave and following each cricket match that he was a part of. Harnam additionally has greater than ten official CSK T-shirts, with all of the designs which have been launched over time.

My hero, my ‘Thala’: Meet three MS Dhoni superfans

This gross sales officer at a PSU has been a Dhoni fan for 15 years now. Some of her pals have even saved her identify as ‘Mahi’ inon their telephones. “Once, I was posted in Shimla and my foot slipped on the way to office; I had a muscle tear,” she remembers. A few days later, she was in Chandigarh, hopping her option to watch a CSK-Punjab sport. “I hopped all the way into the stands, and people were giving me strange looks… but I just had to watch Mahi.”

Harnam’s largest remorse is that she has not but met her cricketing hero in individual, however there’s a reminiscence she is going to maintain on to for all times. “When he played for the Pune team [in IPL], I went to watch a match of his in Delhi. When he walked in to play, the entire stadium was chanting ‘Mahi, Mahi’ and I was shown on the big screen. That will be one of my most happy moments.”

My hero, my ‘Thala’: Meet three MS Dhoni superfans

R Gopikrishnan, Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu)

If you wish to go to R Gopikrishnan in Arangur (Cuddalore district), you don’t want Google Maps that can assist you. All you want is to ask locals the way in which to ‘Dhoni veedu’. This die-hard fan has painted his total home yellow, with the brand of CSK and an image of Dhoni. Since final yr, when he undertook this train, the home has grow to be fashionable within the neighbourhood with everybody calling it ‘Dhoni house’.

The thought was a results of Gopikrishnan’s urge to do one thing final yr, when he was removed from reside cricketing motion (the IPL was staged within the United Arab Emirates in 2020 as a result of pandemic). He additionally wished to unfold positivity amongst followers. “My family knows that I am mad about Dhoni. I pitched them this idea, and thankfully, they gave me a go ahead,” remembers the 31-year-old, who’s into Forex buying and selling enterprise. And so, in three days’ time, Gopikrishnan received his home colored in CSK yellow. Someone shot a video, and the clip went viral; it reached Dhoni himself, who posted a response video to it. “I still cannot believe that he took time off to record a message for me.”

My hero, my ‘Thala’: Meet three MS Dhoni superfans

Jay Soni, Navsari (Gujarat)

At Jay Soni’s tattoo studio in Navsari, cricket is all the time taking part in on TV. In the months of April and May, common patrons know that Jay might be unavailable for appointments within the evenings: he could be busy watching the IPL matches, particularly those that function Dhoni’s CSK. Jay’s childhood dream was to grow to be a cricketer, however he veered into changing into a contract tattoo artist in 2010, and arrange his personal studio in Navsari in 2015, with branches in Bardoli and Surat.

Tattoo designs would possibly occupy most of his mindspace now, however that takes a backseat when Dhoni is taking part in a cricket match. “When he started out, there were famous cricketers like Sachin and Ganguly in the team…but even then, he used to control the match from behind the stumps. His body language suggested that he could take control of games; I have loved watching him and kept imitating him, since 2007,” says Jay, whose IPL mantra this yr is straightforward: Dhoni will deliver again the IPL trophy.

Jay has 20 tattoos on his physique, however his most memorable is the one on his again: that includes his sporting icon. “I first got my parents’ portrait done, and in 2016, I wanted to do a tattoo on my back of something memorable. I thought hard, as I wanted it to be someone or something I will never regret for life… and I chose Dhoni. With him on my back, I firmly believe, ‘Mere peeche Dhoni hai…’”

Watch IPL 2021 Live from Friday onwards on Star Sports Network and Disney+ Hotstar VIP

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