Chennai Super Kings fan Saravanan Hari’s long wait for favourite IPL team ends
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Chennai Super Kings fan Saravanan Hari’s long wait for favourite IPL team ends

Sarvanan Hari, Chennai Super Kings fan, is really happy that his favourite Indian Premier League (IPL) team will be back next year

cricket Updated: Sep 16, 2017 21:31 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Chennai Super Kings,Indian Premier League,IPL
Saravanan Hari is an ardent fan of IPL team Chennai Super Kings and MS Dhoni.(Facebook)

For two years, Saravanan Hari was a fan without a team. You remember him, don’t you? He is that cricket nut in yellow body paint with ‘CSK’ and ‘Dhoni’ inscribed all over his body, a permanent feature at the MA Chidambaram Stadium stands when Chennai Super Kings used to play the Indian Premier League.

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For the last two editions though, the 31-year-old hasn’t had the chance to see his team from close after they were banned from the IPL for two years. “Chennai Super Kings is not just a team, it’s family. It was very difficult to spend two years not watching them play here. For two years, the IPL was boring,” said Saravanan, his voice almost choking after meeting his ‘thala’ MS Dhoni on way to practice.

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“I didn’t stop following cricket though. Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions were my teams for those two years. My allegiance shifted with the players. It was automatic,” said Saravanan, referring to the two new teams that drafted players from Chennai Super Kings.

Logistics manager at a private firm, Saravanan said he enjoys the privilege of being on paid leave when CSK play in Chennai. “My boss always ensures that,” he said with a smile. He started watching every match since 2009 and by the next few years, Saravanan came to be known as the Super Fan who almost became the team mascot. He has preserved the ticket of every IPL match he has seen at the Chepauk. “The count is above 50. But I’m not so sure,” he said.

It isn’t easy though being the mascot. Every three-hour IPL match means Saravanan spends almost five hours preparing for it. “For an 8pm match, I start preparing from 2.30 pm. It takes me three hours to paint myself. Removing it takes an hour and 45 minutes. I try to reach by 6pm-7pm because I have to stand the entire duration of the match,” said Saravanan.

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The thought of being able to go through that routine from next year makes Saravanan emotional and excited. The next IPL is around seven months away but for Saravanan the wait ended when Dhoni posted a picture on Instagram of him wearing a yellow shirt with the name ‘Thala’ inscribed on its back. “We are ready. Chennai is ready to welcome him,” he said.

First Published: Sep 16, 2017 20:36 IST