The Indian T20 League's (ITL) 16th season will get underway on March 31, Friday as MS Dhoni-led Chennai face off against the defending champions Gujarat in the season opener at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The Indian Cricket Board plans to stage a gala opening ceremony in Ahmedabad on March 31 before the opening match as the Indian T20 League (ITL) returns to the home-and-away format after four long years.
On Wednesday, MS Dhoni and the rest of the Chennai team were spotted in the Chennai Airport making their way to the West Indian state for the opening clash of the ITL 2023 season. The photos sparked reactions from fans as most rejoiced about what could possibly be the start of Dhoni's final season in the coveted 20-20 franchise league.
Arijit Singh, Tamannaah Bhatia, and Rashmika Mandanna among headliners in ITL 2023 Opening
According to a trusted source, popular singer Arijit Singh will perform during the opening ceremony. Tamannaah Bhatia, an actress, has been confirmed to appear in the ITL opening by the league's official handles on social media platforms. Although the Indian Cricket Board has been quiet, there is a rumour that Rashmika Mandanna and a few other artists may also make appearances.
The Narendra Modi Stadium, the biggest cricket stadium in the world, may potentially host a unique laser show to awe the spectators before India's cricket festival formally kicks off. The opening ceremony is scheduled to start at 6 PM and will last for roughly 45 minutes.
Return to a home-and-away format means the 10 teams' captains will not be present at the opening ceremony. But all the captains must convene in Ahmedabad on Wednesday for a captain's meeting. Hardik Pandya, the captain of Gujarat, and Dhoni, the captain of Chennai, will be present for the opening ceremony.
According to the organisers, the season opener between Gujarat and Chennai is completely sold out. Gujarat will play a "home" game in front of their supporters for the first time in the franchise's history. Ahmedabad did host the final the previous year, but it wasn't a home game for Gujarat.
Here's how fans reacted to the photos:
Arrested again ?— ROHAN🫂 (@rohan10203070) March 29, 2023
Lookin at MSD, Pandya be like "Hamara baap aa raha hai"#MSDhoni𓃵— Rockzzz (@Rockzzz777) March 29, 2023
Bhago rey, Sher aa gaya— Cricket Fan 07 (@Manas_pr_sharma) March 29, 2023
He has more security than whole current team india 🤣😂 lol— GaltiSeMistakeHogaya (@AndBhala) March 29, 2023
Achha..! Dhoni CSK team ka player nahi hai. Dhoni alag hai aur CSK alg. pic.twitter.com/lCLQwIeE4y— Thoda Shareef (@Thoda_Shareef) March 29, 2023
Thala arrested for owning haarcb for straight 15 years— suuuiiiiii (@hateduetotoxic) March 29, 2023
Thala Dhoni is arriving at Ahemdabad to teach Pandya the captaincy lessons.— Tanmoy (@Tanmoyy) March 29, 2023
MS Dhoni to his fans :) pic.twitter.com/b7KZYTCjXP