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..And the 'Hero' of Chennai Super Kings is Vastu Venkatesan

Last Updated: 4/26/2010 6:36:32 PM

Prasoon

Who is the captain of Chennai Super Kings? You will simply reply, Mahindra Singh Dhoni! But if we say that Dhoni is not a key decision maker in Chennai Super Kings but it is an astrologer, would you believe? Yes, it is true that the skipper of winner of IPL-3 did not take important decisions during IPL-3.

But N. Srinivasan, secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and managing director of the Chennai- headquartered India Cements runs all his business including IPL team based on the advice of Vastu Venkatesan, a leading astrologer and Vastu consultant based in Chennai. It is very well known that N. Srinivasan is also the owner of Chennai Super Kings.

With an annual salary of close to Rs 2 crore, Vastu Venkatesan is extremely close to Srinivasan and has been allegedly nicknamed Shakuni - a cunning advisor to the Kauravas in the Indian epic Mahabharata, who conspires to defeat the Pandavas in a game of dice.

Sources close to the CSK team said Vastu was introduced to Srinivasan by Krishnamachari Srikkanth, former India batsman and the current chairman of the BCCI selection committee.

Srikkanth is also CSK's brand ambassador.

"Srikkanth relies heavily on Venkatesan's advice," sources said.

They added that in every match that CSK played at their home ground in Chepauk, Chennai, Venkatesan's deputy would draw a tantric triangle outside the boundary line as a good omen for the team. " He also drew a similar triangle before the crucial match at Dharmasala against Kings XI Punjab, which Chennai eventually won." This morning at 10 am, in order to propitiate the gods before the final match later in the evening, Venkatesan will be doing a "havan" at Coromandel Towers, the headquarters of India Cements in Chennai.

According to Mail Today story, Venkatesan's influence over Srinivasan and the team has risen to such an extent that he decides who should be included in the playing XI and also, shockingly, the batting order.

Dhoni himself was told to bat at various positions throughout the tournament, sources said, even though he was successful at Nos 5 and 6 in the first two matches.

The decision to open the bowling with off spinner R. Ashwin - thought to be a strategic masterstroke by Dhoni - was also allegedly dictated by Venkatesan, as was the decision to bowl Muttiah Muralitharan's full four overs quota in all the 11 matches he played. Luckily for CSK, Ashwin's promotion worked wonders for the team.

According to Mail Today, Venkatesan even decides Dhoni should bat or field if he wins the toss. Though Venkatesan is over the moon when Chennai wins, sources said he comes up with inane explanations for the team's loss.

"On one occasion, he said the team lost because someone had parked his car on the western side of the stadium," an insider said. " To this, our team owner just nodded his head in agreement.

It would interesting to know what reason he will come up with if our team loses in the final on Sunday." Sources said that, " Dhoni has little or no say in team strategy matters and is made to appear as just another more player in the Chennai Super Kings team.

Though he is the captain of India, we have heard he is dejected and will not stay with this team after this season." But that is easier said than done. Dhoni, if he defies the astrologer and quits the team, stands to lose the huge prize money that he commands at present - a cool $ 1.5 million for the first three seasons, which will only go up next year when all players will be re- auctioned.

Since Srinivasan is slated to be BCCI president later this year, defying him and Srikkanth could also mean he would be gambling on his captain status in the national team.

Former BCCI president A. C. Muthiah admits that Venkatesan was introduced to him by Srikkanth.

However, when Muthiah's camp was defeated in the BCCI elections and Srinivasan joined the cricket administration, Srikkanth switched his allegiance to the India Cements boss and introduced Venkatesan to him.

Srinivasan's meteoric rise coincided with this introduction, and as a result, his belief in Venkatesan grew.He was made chairman of the powerful finance committee when Jagmohan Dalmiya became BCCI president.Later, Srinivasan, joined hands with Maharashtra strongman Sharad Pawar and defeated Dalmiya in the next elections. It was then that Srinivasan was appointed BCCI secretary.

Sources close to the CSK team said that Venkatesan, due to his proximity with Muthiah, knew his weak points so well that he could advise Srinivasan against him.

So there are various reasons behind the blind trust of Srinivasan over Venkatesan. Whatever, the deadly combination of astrology and money has ended the long wait of CSK to bring the trophy of IPL-3 at their home. 

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