After cricketers Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, now the Indian cricket team’s captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has shown an interest in football.
Dhoni on Monday became the co-owner of Chennaiyin FC, one of the eight franchise of Indian Super League.
The team was originally bid by actor Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani, belonging to the Asian Paints family, who are the co-owners.
Dhoni played football and was a goalkeeper in his team before he started playing cricket.
It may be noted that Dhoni heads the Chennai Super Kings, an IPL team that is owned by India Cements.
ISL’s aim is to help India, currently 145th in FIFA’s world rankings, qualify for the 2026 World Cup, the organisers said in October.
Based in Chennai, Chennaiyin FC will begin playing this month during the inaugural season of ISL.
The 28-member team of the Chennaiyin FC includes 12 foreign nationals from Brazil, France, Spain, Italy, Colombia, Sweden and Brazil.
Italian World Cup winner Marco Materazzi was hired as player-manager.
Chennaiyin FC will start their ISL journey on October 16.
Earlier, Tendulkar become the co-owner of the ISL franchise Kerala Blasters.
Kohli, through his company, invested in the FC Goa franchise of the Hero Indian Super League.
The other notable group from Tamil Nadu that has shown an interest in ISL is the Sun Group -- which controls SpiceJet Ltd and Sun TV Network Ltd.
It has bought the rights to the team from Bengaluru, formerly known as Bengaluru.
The group is also the owner of IPL Franchise.
The eight teams going head to head this ISL season are Atletico Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Goa, FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC and Northeast United FC.
The most expensive city to be won was the Kolkata team, which was won for approximately Rs 18 crore (Rs 180 million).
The base price of each team was set at Rs 12 crore (Rs 120 million).
India cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, along with PVP Ventures, had won the bidding for the Kochi franchise.
Another former Indian cricketer, Sourav Ganguly, along with a group of Indian businessmen and La Liga side Atlético Madrid, had won the bidding for the Kolkata franchise.
Image: MS Dhoni