Dhoni to be back as the leader of Super Kings

IPL decision allows Chennai, Rajasthan to retain up to five players from 2015 roster

By A.K.S. SatishStaff Writer
17:31 December 6, 2017
MS Dhoni

Dubai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, former Indian captain, will return at the helm of the Chennai Super Kings to guide the ‘Yellow Brigade’ when they make a comeback in the Indian Premier League in it’s 2018 season.

The IPL Governing Council on Wednesday cleared the decks for Dhoni, popularly known as ‘Thalai’ (leader) by the Whistle Podu fans, return to Super Kings (CSK) by allowing teams to buy back a maximum of five players at the auction next year.

Effectively, the IPL Governing Council has enabled CSK and Rajasthan Royals, the two franchises which will make a comeback after serving a two-year suspension for alleged spot-fixing and betting, to retain the players which were on their 2015 roster.

Speaking to Gulf News, George John, Fulltime Director of Chennai Super Kings, said: “We are excited about Dhoni coming back into Chennai Super Kings. We are happy with the retention policy as we are getting the players we wanted to be with the team.”

Ever since Chennai had completed the two-year suspension, CSK twitter was abuzz with the talk of Dhoni returning to one of the most successful teams in the history of the league. The move gathered steam when Harsh Goenka, brother of Rising Pune Supergiants owner Sanjeev Goenka, was trolled for hailing Pune captain Steve Smith at the expense of Dhoni.

‘MSD,’ who had played for Pune in the last two editions — first as captain and second as a player — minced no words to publicly betray his soft corner towards the Chennai team and its fans.

“An IPL Franchise is eligible to secure up to five players by virtue of a combination of (Pre Player Auction) and (During the Player Auction),” BCCI Acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary said.

“The player pool available for CSK and RR for retention/RTM will be the players’ who played for them respectively in IPL 2015 and who were part of RPS and Gujarat Lions squads in IPL 2017,” he added. RTM refers to a franchise’s right to match the highest bidder for a player it is interested in.

With this latest ruling, teams are expected to finalise their plans for the next season by the end of the month, well ahead of the players auction in February.

The IPL Governing Council has also increased the salary cap to Rs. 800 million (Dh45.50 million) for the next year and Rs. 820 million and Rs. 850 million for the subsequent years.

— With inputs from agencies