Superstition and sports are often inextricably linked, but Chennai Super Kings carried it to a whole new level when -- more than skill – it banked on astrology to help it win the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013.
CSK-owner and BCCI president N Srinivasan passed on his astrologer's advice on match strategy during IPL 2013. An e-mail sent by Srinivasan's astrologer, accessed by Yahoo Cricket, shows these advisories on batting order, toss as well as deities to be prayed to and poojas to be performed on match days.
On May 26 -- the day of the IPL-6 final between Super Kings and Mumbai Indians -- that Super Kings lost by 23 runs, astrologer Dr Venkatesan Karthikeyan, states that team representatives attending the final should carry laminated photos of Lucky Ganesha and Goddess Bagiamugi.
Dr Karthikeyan's directive for the toss was ‘choice of batting first is preferred though bowling can be taken’. The advisory also states that the batting order should not be changed and that Dhoni should not change the order as far as possible. It also advised that Hanuman Chalisa should be played in the Super Kings dressing room during the final.
The advisory insisted that Super Kings owners and team management wear Blue T-shirts during the final.
Before the final against Mumbai Indians, Dr Karthikeyan said, "As 26th is a Sunday and Jyeshta Nakshatra and not friendly to Shri Dhoni, we have to do special prayers to some important deities of various temples."
The mail contained a long list of offerings to be made during poojas to various deities. The directive said that all archanas and poojas should mandatorily include Chennai Super Kings, India Cements and Srinivasan's names.
The instructions in the mail said that Super Kings shouldn't blow their own trumpet at any press conference, adding that the opposition's dressing room should have red towels and the home dressing room should have blue towels.
Dr Karthikeyan's mail stated that the list of persons, including the management representatives, visiting each match be screened and approved by some ‘HM’ in Prasna to maintain ‘positive energies’. The mail added that a minimum of 30 people should wear yellow and 50 people green T-shirts when they attend the final.
The astrologer also warned the owners and their family members against viewing the match.
A recent Economic Times report claimed that the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption and security unit and Mumbai Police, which is investigating match fixing charges in IPL, are aware of the email trail.
Rhiti Sports' main promoter Arun Pandey, who is also Dhoni's best friend, was quoted by Economic Times as saying: "Dhoni is a very humble and honest man and he will do anything to help you but when it comes to the game he is quite clear: he is the captain, he makes the decisions." Dhoni used to have interests in Rhiti Sports.
The Economic Times report also said that on April 8, Srinivasan received an email from Dr Karthikeyan for the match against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on April 10. This asked that Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan "stay away from viewing the match in any format". Super Kings won by 10 wickets. Meiyappan was investigated by police in the IPL match-fixing case.
Another mail, sent on April 11, refers to the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chepauk on April 13. Meiyappan is again advised to "stay away". Super Kings won by four wickets with one ball remaining.
For both the matches, the directive for the toss was given as follows according to Economic Times: "Choice (bowling/batting) for toss win to be followed as advised for IPL". Super Kings won the toss in both games and chose to field. Both these emails used a cryptic sentence - "magic stick to be brought in for control and online correction also".
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