Chennai’s very own Thala Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami were the stars of the show as a coffee-table book on former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief N Srinivasan’s 50-year journey with India Cements was released at the Kalaivanar Arangam on Friday.Titled ‘Defying The Paradigm’, the book celebrates the life of vice chairman and managing director of India Cements — Srinivasan. Released by the chief minister himself, the book’s first copy was handed to former India and current Chennai Super Kings skipper Dhoni amid much fanfare. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also sent in a congratulatory message to Srinivasan and India Cements for its wonderful journey over the last 70 years.Speaking on the occasion, Dhoni said: “I have written and deleted this speech time and again and finally decided to go with the flow. I think the first interaction with sir was during a Test match and he had just become the treasurer. He walked in with Kashi sir after the end of the day’s play or during a break and asked when we get payment. One player said if we are lucky after 4 months. He just asked Kashi sir as to why and that is where it ended. He loves to play golf just as much as he loves cricket. I got to learn a lot out of him as I have been a part of CSK for the longest times. I never knew i would be selected for CSK. It became a very perfect mix like rum and coke. Either you love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore him. Fortunate to have been able to spend a lot of time with him.”READ: Virat Kohli ends 2018 with a duck, misses out on multiple recordsIn a glittering ceremony, attended by almost all the big stars of Indian cricket, talks ranged from Srinivasan’s journey in India cements to his endeavour to promote the gentleman’s game and new talent.Speaking after releasing the book, the CM said that it was an honour to be a part of the momentous occasion.Sunil Gavaskar, Chandu Borde, Kapil Dev, GR Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, K Srikkanth, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, VVS Laxman, Ajay Jadeja, Syed Kirmani, Javagal Srinath and Dinesh Karthik among others were some of the current and yesteryear stars present at the venue. Not to forget members of the Yellow Brigade — Chennai Super Kings — and some of the top board officials.Speaking at the occasion, Rupa Gurunath — daughter of Srinivasan and whole time director of India Cements — said: “This book talks about my father’s journey as well as our involvement in sports. My father had to cut short his studies after the sudden demise of my grandfather. He often talks of the early years and the challenges he faced and the triumphs that made it all worthwhile.”Former India skipper Gavaskar said: “What an honour this is. I never played cricket as a professional because cricket wasn’t a profession back then. But it now is thanks to the thriving efforts of Srinivasan and other board members. In cricket his contribution is unmatchable. The one-time benefit for former players, the pension scheme not just for former players, but also for widows of former players. This doesn’t happen in any other sport. Thank you so much for having them.”READ:  Tim Paine uses Dhoni reference to sledge Rishabh Pant, asks if he could babysitFormer World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev rued the fact that there was no administrator like Srinivasan during his playing days. “I met him 20 years back. We never had a person like him who could administer us when we were playing cricket. When we started, we wished if we could have salary like Australian or English players. But today, everyone wants salary like Indian players. Nobody looks after sportspeople like Srinivasan has selflessly,” he said.Rahul Dravid, who is also a part of the India Cements family, said: “For me, I would like to speak about a few things that signifies what he is for me. Been 25 years since I have been a member of the family. When I joined I didn’t know him. I was just told he is interested in cricket. We were playing our first or second league match and someone said Srinivasan has come to the ground and I found it strange that the MD has come to watch a league match. He would join the conversation at the end of the day and what impressed was his knowledge of the game and our scores. I found that incredible.”Srinivasan said he didn’t know how to express his emotion at this moment of happiness and gratitude. “Thank you isn’t enough for the turnaround. It is on these days that you know who your friends are. I thanks all those who have worked tirelessly to make this evening possible,” he signed off.