Will Dhoni do a Buffon for Chennai Super Kings?
CHENNAI: The brand Chennai Super Kings was built around one player – MS Dhoni. Now that CSK ceases to exist, some of the other franchises will see it as a golden opportunity to buy the most marketed face in world cricket at present from the next auctions. “All our players, including Dhoni, have yearly contracts, and they can go back to the auction pool if we are out of it,” a CSK source said.
But there are many who believe that Dhoni, who is also one of the vice-presidents of India Cements, may not choose to desert the ship at this crucial juncture. There are such examples in international football – Gianluigi Buffon chose to stay on with Juventus in 2007 when the team was demoted to Serie B for match-fixing scandal. “In CSK, Dhoni’s is the last word on every issue. There is absolutely no pressure from the management and he can play with a free mind. He loves playing for CSK and that’s why he never misses a game, unless he is severely injured,” a source in the know told TOI.
Dhoni shares a very close bond with the management and if there is a request from the top bosses of CSKCL to stay back at a time when the team needs rebuilding, the Indian limited-overs captain may not be averse to the idea. “As it is there was some talk that Dhoni might not play for too long post the 2016 IPL. There could be a situation where he chooses to stay with the team that has gone a long way in making the player that he is today,” a source said.
Dhoni was picked up from the auctions in the first year of the IPL in 2008 and he guided the team to title triumphs in the first four years. It was under his leadership CSK played six finals and has been the team to beat. It also coincided with his rise as the Indian captain which culminated in India winning the 2011 World Cup. Later in the year, after India’s Test debacle in England and Australia, it was the then BCCI president N Srinivasan who went out of his way to ensure that he stayed at the helm of affairs. Since then, CSK played three more IPL finals in 2102, 13 and 14, losing all three, as Dhoni went from strength to strength.
“It’s not that CSK have always been very consistent in the last four seasons, but unlike other franchises, the owners have never asked Dhoni any questions. It would be interesting to see if Dhoni chooses to try his luck in another franchise,” a source said.
* CSK spent $4.2m on eight players in the 2015 player auctions after retaining 15 players. That puts the total approximate value of all cricketers in CSK on an average of $15m.
* The Royals spent $2.1m on eight players in the player auctions after retaining 14 players. The total approximate value of all players in Royals stands at an average of $8m.
* If CSK and RR sit out, none of the other teams have space nor the purse to absorb 45 cricketers. The only way these cricketers can play is if the BCCI auctions two new franchises and allows them a fresh purse to buy these cricketers.
* The other way out is for these franchises to sell out. However, the present valuation is unlikely to fetch these eight-year-old franchises much in the back drop of the controversies and their sacking.