It's a norm for the Chennai Super Kings to enter with a bang. They have been the most consistent team in this Twenty20 meet, possess a constellation of stars and are led by one of the most gripping characters of the game. But how things change once the whiff of fixing gets to even the top team!
Suddenly, queries go unanswered and everything surrounding the team becomes hush, hush. Take for example, their arrival here on Friday. News was that it was supposed to be a morning landing. That was not to be.
Ask the airport officials, and even they had no idea. One of the officers with the security detail said even they were kept outside the loop when it came to sharing information about the team's movement and that they were sent to escort the team from the airport to the hotel at short notice.
But why the delay? ‘We can't say’, was the common refrain. Morning stretched to afternoon when the familiar yellow shirts finally made their way out of the exit points. And even if you couldn't see them, it was apparent that Mahendra Singh Dhoni, wife Sakshi in tow, was coming through from the number of personnel forming security rings around them.
The hotel again bore a look different from the one which had hosted the Kolkata Knight Riders three weeks ago. Cops strategically placed in a SUV in front of the reception lounge were briefed to swoop down on any ‘outsider’ and ask what business they had.
Even three weeks ago, there was almost no restriction on movement inside the common area of the hotel.
Are there a new set of instructions now? “Yes,” said the person manning the hotel front desk. “But we are not at liberty to discuss that,” he added.