Chennai Super Kings will meet Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chepauk this Saturday. Ahead of this here’s a different perspective on fairytale returns. Here’s why IPL 12 is more of a fairytale CSK return than 2018 for the differently-abled. (Further info at the bottom of this post).
Chennai Super Kings players after winning IPL 11

CSK celebrate after emerging champions in their return to IPL (Source: NDTV Sports)

At this stage last year the Super fans of Chennai Super Kings would’ve all been eagerly, anxiously looking forward. It was for the return of their beloved team to the IPL. For the team’s first match at the MA Chidambaram stadium the fans flocked in numbers, despite the tense situation. The Cauvery protests were going on in the city and an open condemnation of having the IPL there was done.

During the first innings of the match someone threw a pair of slippers onto the ground. Some fans were beaten up on their way to the ground as well and voila, CSK’s home games were shifted. All the fans were of course heartbroken, they had been lying in wait for 2 years after all. But some fans from a particular community were waiting for years and years together.

2018 was the first time when some state cricket boards took initative to provide wheelchair access. They made it that way just for the 2 month span of IPL. The differently-able were enabled with wheelchair accessible seats by Chennai Super Kings and other franchises from Delhi, Rajasthan and Kolkata. This community was yearning for an opportunity to watch cricket matches from the stands, without much hassle.

Why IPL 12 is a fairytale return for the differently abled fans of Chennai Super Kings

Being a huge cricket fanatic and as someone part of the disabled community, the disappointment I felt was unparalleled. Chennai Super Kings’ incredible, odds defying, title-winning run acted as a soothing balm. But with elections scheduled for this year that effect wore off pretty soon. This was because the tournament had been shifted abroad during previous elections.

“MS Dhoni could walk into the dusk of his cricketing journey by the time 2020 comes”. This was the common worry of the Chennai fans, especially the differently-able.

Lucky for them, the IPL committee decided that the matches shouldn’t be interrupted by elections. They gave out an announcement that it will take place in India. That’s when the 12th edition of IPL became the fairytale return for the differently-able and “able” fans of Chennai. The former group would certainly be the most satisfied, even relieved of the two. But passion for the game and loyalty towards their team is the same and that’s why sports unite people. It doesn’t care for your physical or mental status, it just takes over most people like an unsuspecting wave. For the geniune cricket lovers though , there’s no way one could be a better fan than the other.


Lower stands in the Chepauk Stadium

The H-Lower Stand will have seating arrangements for the wheelchair users also.

Author’s Take on Chennai Super Kings and some other IPL franchises’ accessibility initiative

IPL is a good start in terms of inclusion of the differently-able in sports events, especially the wheelchair users. This will serve as a good trial run as well with enabling accessibility in cricket stadia. It can also help in ironing out the rough edges, if any, and hopefully authorities will take inputs from the hardworking representatives of the differently abled community. There’s still a long way to go and a ton of parameters and situations to consider if accessibility is to be implemented flawlessly. With the sheer variety of disabilities that wheelchair users have the implementation needs to be as close to perfect as probable.

Process to procure tickets alloted by Chennai Super Kings for the differently-abled fans:

  • Go to the box office counter as you can buy tickets only there
  • Take your original disability certificate and show it to them
  • The tickets are issued in first come first serve basis and if available you will be in the stadium, cheering along with the crowd.
  • Try to purchase tickets well before the match day

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