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CSK Had Splurged $1,500,000 On MS Dhoni During IPL 2008 Auction Despite Virender Sehwag Being Owner N Srinivasan’s Preference

Gurpreet Singh

CSK Had Splurged $1,500,000 On MS Dhoni During IPL 2008 Auction Despite Virender Sehwag Being Owner N Srinivasan's Preference

Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni has had such an influential impact on the franchise in terms of their fan-following and title triumphs that any piece of information involving their association is usually enticing. One such goes back to the year 2008 when he was not even in owner N. Srinivasan’s plans as a potential pick in the side, but a former India opening batter made sure to convince him otherwise.

V.B. Chandrasekhar might not be a familiar name among most of ardent CSK fan circles, but the former India national selector was more than convinced about Dhoni as the franchise’s first pick. His good rapport with Srinivasan had also meant that he could put forth an astute modus operadi to beat the likes of Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals at the auction table.

Not opting for an icon player unlike some other franchises, wherein the chosen one was supposed to be paid 15% extra than their most costliest player, had worked pretty well in Srinivasan’s and Chandrasekhar’s favour, as they had the option of spending extravagantly for a World Cup-winning captain.

CSK Had Splurged $1,500,000 On MS Dhoni During IPL 2008 Auction

During an interaction with Behindwoods in January 2019, Chandrasekhar had revealed how Srinivasan had roped him in specifically to shortlist players Chennai would opt for during the first-ever IPL auction. Being appointed as the franchise’s operations manager, Chandrasekhar was entrusted with the responsibility with the freedom that his decisions at the table would never be questioned.

While the target set by Chandrasekhar for Dhoni’s acquisition was $1.1 million, he had spent additional $400,000 to acquire his services. However, the bidding war for him was only won after adopting a clever strategy.

“I had set USD 1.1 million as the maximum amount to be spent on purchasing [MS] Dhoni. But, many teams including Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals were fighting for Dhoni. After a few rounds, I stopped to bet for Dhoni, while other teams kept fighting to bring to their club. At one point, everyone thought that it was all done, when the auctioneer was about to hit the gavel for the third and final time and sell off Dhoni to another team, I raised my hand at the last second and said USD 1.5 million. And that’s how Dhoni came into CSK,” revealed Chandrasekhar while speaking to Behindwoods.

Resultantly, at $1.5 million, the wicket-keeper batter became the most expensive player at IPL 2008 auction table, with Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds (bought by Deccan Chargers) ranking second at $1.35 million.

Not MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag Was CSK Owner N Srinivasan’s Preference

Although Srinivasan and Dhoni later formed one of the most formidable administrator-captain pair in Indian cricket, the former was averse to buy the latter before IPL 2008. In fact, owing to his form and explosive batting nature back then, former India batter Virender Sehwag was in Srinivasan’s plans as an icon player.

“[N] Srinivasan said everyone involved with CSK that no one should interfere with VB’s choice of players no matter how much it might cost. He called me and asked who I wanted to pick up first. I immediately said Dhoni, mainly because there was no star icon from the state. Srinivasan suggested that we go for Virender Sehwag, who was at his prime at that time.

“I felt that there was an icon for each team, be it Sachin Tendulkar for Mumbai, Rahul Dravid for Bangalore, VVS Laxman for Hyderabad and ‘Dada’ Sourav Ganguly for Kolkata, but there was no one from Tamil Nadu. I told that we had to go for MS Dhoni as he is a future youth icon. I just went with my gut feeling.”

While Srinivasan had blind trust in Chandrasekhar’s gut feeling, it is worth of a mention that Sehwag was anyway roped in as the icon player by Delhi Daredevils later upon his own request, as he had wished to play only for his home state franchise.

Although Sehwag’s decision resulted in distance between him and the “Yellow Army”, the everlasting partnership and relationship between Srinivasan and Dhoni might not have come into the picture of Indian cricket’s history at all had the Super Kings owner managed to somehow have his way back in the day.

As for Chandrasekhar, the late former Indian cricketer had held on to his post at CSK across the initial three IPL seasons. He was later appointed the head coach of Tamil Nadu in 2012, after donning the commentator’s hat during the preceding five years. Unfortunately, less than a year later, he was sacked from the role after the team’s ordinary performances in the season during Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy.

About the author

Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh


Gurpreet Singh is a Cricket writer at The Sportsrush. His platonic relationship with sports had always been there since childhood, but Cricket managed to strike a special, intimate nerve of his heart. Although his initial dream of playing the sport at the highest level couldn't come to fruition, Gurpreet did represent the state of Jharkhand at the under-14 level. However, almost like taking a pledge to never let the undying passion for Cricket fade away even a tad, he made sure to continue the love relationship by assigning the field of journalism as an indirect Cupid. He thus, first finished his bachelor's in journalism and then pursued the PG Diploma course in English journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). Soon after and since 2019, he has been working at The Sportsrush. Apart from sports, he takes keen interest in politics, and in understanding women and gender-related issues.

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