Chennai Super Kings may not be playing its home matches at the M A Chidambaram stadium here anymore, but would not be short of support as fans are travelling to Pune for cheering them in Friday's game against Rajasthan Royals.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings have one of the most dedicated fan base in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Chennai Central witnessed a celebration of sorts on Thursday as hundreds of fans boarded the “Whistle Podu Express.” It is a fan only express train to Pune.
This special train was organised by the CSK management board to cheer up their fans who were dejected after the team decided to host its home games in Pune following the protests against the IPL during the Cauvery Management Board issue.
"After the team's home games were shifted to Pune, fans were really upset. So we requested the CSK management board to give us discounted train or flight tickets to go watch the game or even reimburse tickets for the matches shifted out of the city. We suggested they get us one or two coaches to take fans to Pune. But the board went one step ahead and sponsored an entire train for us," said Prabu, a member of the CSK fan club who initiated the idea.
Fans who got to go to Pune on the Whistle Podu Express were carefully selected by the CSK fan club heads, which includes Prabhu, CSK superfan Saravanan Hari and joint secretary Sriram.
"We picked 20 fans from Twitter who had bought tickets for the CSK vs Rajasthan Royals match which was shifted out of Chennai, after verifying their tickets. Our fan club conducts blood donation drives and we even visit orphanages during Dhoni and Raina's birthdays. We picked those fans who regularly attend these events. Out of this, over 70 were those who attended the blood donation drives. Fans were chosen and the name list was put out within 24 hours as we got the permission on such short notice," says Prabhu.
Prabhu adds that the club was careful in choosing those fans who had never had a chance to watch a match live.