The subject of rivalry in sports is one topic that attracts fans in large numbers, and one of the most anticipated clashes during every Indian Premier League season is between the Chennai Super Kings and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Two of the most popular teams in the IPL, CSK and RCB have contested few of the most exciting clashes in the history of the cash-rich league. And, one man who has had the privilege of enjoying the tense rivalry from both the dressing rooms is KB Arun Karthik.
Famously known for his last-ball six for RCB against South Australia during the 2011 CLT20, Arun Karthik was a part of CSK's squad for three seasons from 2008-2010, before making the switch to RCB ahead of IPL 2011.
Having spent some quality time with both the teams, Arun Karthik shed light on the differences in the modus operandi of CSK and RCB.
"CSK was a very close and tightly knit unit. There's not much happening on the outside, the team has very few decision-makers. I played for India Cements and I am employed with them, they know how to run their cricket. They leave everything to MS Dhoni to make all the decisions. They trust MS Dhoni completely and leave it all to him. CSK is a very relaxed atmosphere," said Arun Karthik in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda.
Arun Karthik was picked in the MS Dhoni-led CSK squad ahead of the 2008 IPL season but with the CSK skipper himself and Parthiv Patel ahead of him in the pecking order for the wicketkeeper's spot, the TN-based wicketkeeper-batsman had to watch a major chunk of the action from the sidelines.
"CSK fans accepted MS Dhoni as their captain"
Although India had won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, the concept of T20 cricket was very new and as per Arun Karthik, there was a lot of expectations to be met from the IPL.
And, given that CSK was one of the few teams without a marquee player from the state, CSK fans accepted MS Dhoni as their captain
"CSK and RR didn't have marquee players, every other team had their marquee players. MS Dhoni was accepted by the people, he was the captain of India, people were crazy of Dhoni and that's how it started. People started enjoying Dhoni and CSK," said Arun Karthik.
Having played one match for CSK across three seasons, Arun Karthik's move to RCB in 2011 brought with it a lot of game time for the wicketkeeper-batsman. However, Arun Karthik was also one of the new entrants into the team which wore a very new outlook, with the RCB management opting to retain just Virat Kohli ahead of the IPL 2011 season.
While Arun Karthik claims that the rivalry between the two sides was not as much in focus when compared to the present day, the 34-year-old recalled having had a lot of fun during his tenure with RCB.
"RCB was a new team with a lot of changes. Anil bhai was the mentor, they had big names like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle and others. RCB was a very open setup. It was a very friendly atmosphere, even though we had many stars, everyone was very friendly. You could always play around with Gayle and make fun of him, I got to play a lot of games with RCB," said Arun Karthik.
With buckets of experience from the Indian domestic circuit and in the IPL, Arun Karthik was most recently in action for Puducherry in the 2019-20 Ranji Trophy season.Published 15 May 2020, 11:06 IST