In a realm where cricket meets brilliance, where passion is forged into success, where legends are born and dynasties are carved, one name stands as a beacon of ingenuity and relentless pursuit of excellence. Here’s unravelling the mastermind behind the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Kasi Viswanathan, the charismatic CEO and a true visionary whose leadership has etched an indelible mark in the IPL industry and transformed dreams into reality.

1. What has been the most rewarding aspect of your journey as the CEO of Chennai Super Kings?
The journey itself has been most rewarding. When the IPL began in 2008, no one thought it would become what it is today. The entire journey has been an incredible ride and it’s a privilege to be a part of one of the most consistent and successful franchises in the league – Chennai Super Kings.

2. How do you ensure a balance between on-field performance and the overall brand value of CSK?
We believe that the processes will take care of on-field performances and in turn the brand value will be taken care of. While one half of the credit goes to the team, the other half goes to our loyal fanbase.

3. What strategies or initiatives have you implemented to maintain the team’s consistency and success in the Indian Premier League?
We leave all cricketing decisions to the captain and the coach. Success is not in our hands, but the process is. As a franchise, we believe in consistency in whatever we do. It shows in us retaining our core over the years.

4. Could you share any memorable behind-the-scenes moments or anecdotes from your time with CSK?
The family get-togethers during the season are ones we enjoy. Especially, being around all the kids of players and support staff helps us unwind during the intense IPL season.

5. What is your take on Dhoni’s retirement from IPL? Will the next season be his last or how do you plan to sustain CSK without the legend himself?
Dhoni himself has spoken about it after the IPL 2023 final and hinted that he is likely to continue next season. We welcome it. It is too early to talk about the subsequent seasons.

6.As a leader, what are the core values you believe are crucial for fostering a winning team culture?
As always mentioned by our mentor N Srinivasan, we have always believed that we only own the franchise, we don’t own the players. That makes all the difference. We ensure we create the best possible environment for the players to perform. And as I said earlier, we leave the cricketing decisions to our captain MS Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming.

7. With the emergence of young talents in the cricketing world, how does CSK approach talent scout and player development?
We pick players not just for the cricketing talent but also for the people they are. We have been in cricket administration for decades now and we get inputs on different players across the country. We also take valuable inputs from our data analysis team.

Player development is part of the process. Our skipper Dhoni is known for getting the best out of players. Even if they aren’t playing regularly, their interactions with the likes of Hussey, Bravo, MS and the rest have made them better cricketers.

8. How has CSK managed to build such a strong and the most loyal fan base over the years?
Our fans are the heartbeat of the franchise. We are proud to have a loyal fanbase that extends beyond geographical boundaries. It was wonderful to see the way fans painted all stadiums yellow in this year’s IPL. We have always been fortunate to enjoy a big fan following. Having MS Dhoni as our captain since 2008 is obviously a big reason. We have also entertained fans with the brand of cricket we play, which is a factor too.

Chennai Super Kings is also known for some unique fan initiatives. The Whistle Podu Express is one such fan activity. In 2018, we took fans from Chennai to Pune in a chartered train to watch CSK matches. We repeated it in 2023 when we took fans from southern districts of Tamil Nadu in a train to watch a match live from Chepauk.

9. Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for Chennai Super Kings in the coming years?
As a franchise, we don’t focus on the results or goals. We only focus on the processes and the results will take care of itself.

10. We all know that you played cricket till the first division. What was the reason that you stopped playing and started focusing mainly on your career?
I knew that I couldn’t progress in cricket as a career beyond the levels that I played. So I decided to concentrate on my career as an administrator.

11. How do you handle all the stress and maintain a balance?
Over a period of time I have gotten used to it! But watching cricket keeps me going and I enjoy my work.

12. How do you like to unwind?
I like to spend time with my friends and listen to music.

13. Tell us about your earlier days and how did you develop your interest towards cricket?
Right from my school days I have been interested in cricket. Ever since then, cricket has been a part of my life.

14. What went through your mind every time you were at the stadium watching the matches?
I have watched so many close games that I am used to it. We always think positively irrespective of the situation. Winning and losing is a part of the game and you have to respect it.

15. Now that the season is over and your hard work and dedication has been fruitful, what are the plans for the next few weeks/months and also your future plans?
There are no off days. Apart from CSK, we have other businesses that keep us busy throughout the year. We have Super Kings Academy, which is a grassroots cricket development programme with multiple centers around Tamil Nadu and the world. We also have Texas Super Kings in the United States of America and Joburg Super Kings in South Africa. We are also building a High Performance Centre with state-of-the-art facilities in Chennai.

Rapid Fire

1. Your favourite holiday destination?

2. Your favourite IPL moment? (Besides the win)
The Dharamsala game in IPL 2010

3. Your favourite cricket player?
MS Dhoni

4. Coffee or tea?

5. Summer or winter?

6. Beaches or mountains?

7. Books or movies?

8. Sweet or savoury?

9. City life or country life?
Country life

10. Indoor activities or outdoor activities?

11. Road trip or flights?
Road Trips

12. Favourite cuisine?
South Indian

13. Most memorable CSK victory?
IPL 2018 victory

14. Favourite IPL city to travel to?

15. One word to describe the CSK fanbase?
Our Heartbeat

16. Favourite IPL team apart from CSK?
Rajasthan Royals

17. Favourite newbie of CSK this season?
Matheesha Pathirana