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This article was first published 2 years ago  » Cricket » When Dhoni Triggered an IPL Bidding War

When Dhoni Triggered an IPL Bidding War

By Rediff Cricket
February 09, 2022 12:03 IST
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MS Dhoni

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings to its fourth IPL title last season, when CSK defeated Kolkata Knight Riders in the final. Photograph: BCCI

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an icon and it's not surprising that when the first Indian Premier League auction was held in 2008, every franchise would want to have the star cricketer in their team.

Former IPL auctioneer Richard Madley recalled the first bidding war he witnessed at an Indian Premier League auction when Dhoni was roped in by the Chennai Super Kings.

In a conversation with Ravichandran Ashwin on his YouTube channel, Madley spoke about how Dhoni triggered the auction's first bidding war.

'Out of the bag came the man himself, the ultimate all-rounder Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and there we saw the first bidding war of many in the IPL auctions,' Madley said.

Dhoni was signed by CSK for $1.5 million, outbidding the Mumbai Indians. CSK Owner Narayanaswami Srinivasan had a plan chalked out that gave his franchise the edge.

'It is a question of arithmetic, Punjab wanted Yuvraj Singh to play for them, Delhi wanted (Virender) Sehwag to play for then, Mumbai could not imagine a team without Sachin Tendulkar, how could Sachin play for somebody else?' Srinivasan had said in an interview two years back.

At the 2008 auction, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings placed a bid for Dhoni, who had guided India to T20 World Cup glory in the first edition of the ICC event in September 2007. Chennai did not have an icon player while Mumbai did in Sachin Tendulkar. Ultimately, Chennai held on and secured Dhoni's services.

'When it came to $1.5 million, I think they (Mumbai) realised they would have to pay Sachin $1.65 million and Dhoni $1.5 million, five million was the purse and sixty per cent of the purse would go to these two players. So they stopped and that's how we got Dhoni because I said I don't want an icon,' Srinivasan remembered.

Under Dhoni, CSK have become one of the most successful franchises in IPL history having won the title four times, the most recent one coming in 2021.

Madley also recalled how he was surprised when Australian great Shane Warne, the second player from the bag, was acquired by Rajasthan Royals at his base price. Madley hailed the decision as the 'smartest move' of that auction as the Royals had scripted a stunning title victory that season.

'I remember the second player coming out of the bag that day was Shane Warne. I thought okay here's Warnie and this will be interesting, his base price was I think around 400,000 dollars. That's what he sold for at his base price to Rajasthan Royals and I thought at that time that was a smart move.'

'It's a smart move because at the end of his career but someone remarkably successful, experienced, charismatic and who was a leader. They bought Shane Warne and what did Rajasthan Royals do in IPL one, they won it,' Madley remembered.

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