The former India skipper MS Dhoni has been the face Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) since the inception of the competition in 2008. CSK have been the most successful team in the IPL, and their popularity has increased from time to time thanks to Dhoni. Meanwhile, only a handful knows that the wicket-keeper batsman was not the first choice of the franchise in 2008.
Dhoni was not the first choice for CSK
The introduction of IPL has changed the face of Indian cricket forever. From helping the Indian team management to create a pool of players for the senior to giving the youngsters a platform to showcase their talent, IPL is the biggest thing that has happened in Indian cricket. Speaking of IPL, the Super Kings and MS Dhoni comes to everyone’s mind at one go. They have been the most successful side reaching the playoffs in all the season they have participated.
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Dhoni has been an integral part of the Super Kings leading the team from the front. However, Chennai owner N Srinivasan didn’t had any plan to pick MS Dhoni as their star player. It was former India cricketer VB Chandrasekhar, who recently committed suicide, who persuaded the owners to pick Dhoni ahead of Virender Sehwag. Chandrasekhar was CSK’s chief selector and director of cricket operations during that time.
“Before the auctions in 2008, Mr N Srinivasan asked me, “Who are you going to pick?” I said Dhoni. He asked, “Why not Virender Sehwag?”
“I said Sehwag would not provide me with the kind of inspiration that the crowd will be looking forward to, whereas Dhoni is a captain, a wicket-keeper and a batsman who can change the match situation on his own. So I asked him if I could look for him,” Chandrasekhar said to Sportskeeda.
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Furthermore, VB Chandrasekhar elaborated how they secure the service of MS Dhoni for a massive budget despite having a small purse. He said, for the former India skipper, the management had kept an amount of 1.1 million with a total of 5 million budget to buy the whole team. Later on, they had increased the budget to 1.4 million for the star cricketer but decided not to increase anymore. Finally, they managed to rope in Dhoni for 1.5 million and built the team with the rest of the budget.
“So I increased my amount to 1.4 million and still tried to buy the team because, with a total of 5 million for the entire team, 1.4 million would have gone for Dhoni himself,” he continued.
“But with the auction approaching, someone said that Dhoni would go for 1.8 million. So I told him that if Dhoni would go for anything beyond 1.5 million, I’d let him go because I couldn’t let go a team, as then there would have been Dhoni and nobody else. Mr Srinivasan was upset that we couldn’t get Dhoni because somewhere he believed that Dhoni was the future and I had convinced him that he was going to be the future youth icon,” Chandrasekhar concluded.