There is no doubt that after Sachin Tendulkar, former India skipper MS Dhoni is one of the most loved cricketers in India. The Ranchi-born has taken the Indian cricket to great heights, and that’s the reason he has earned the love and respect of millions of cricket fans in the country.
However, back in 2008 when the fascinating Indian Premier League (IPL) started, the current Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain wasn’t among the marquee players in the inaugural season of the lucrative league.
Dhoni was undoubtedly among the most talked names, especially concerning the shorter format because of India’s triumph in the 2007 T20 World Cup; still, he couldn’t make it to the elite list.
Players like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh were handed over the responsibility to lead teams like Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Kings XI Punjab, respectively. But Dhoni had to wait before CSK brought him as MSD had no home team waiting for him.
Former IPL Chief Operating Officer Sundar Raman revealed this gripping story while speaking on the 22 Yarns podcast with sports presenter Gaurav Kapur. Raman talked about Dhoni’s inclusion in the Chennai-based franchise.
“The only thing sure about the 2008 IPL was that the marquee players had to be assigned to their respective franchises. Sachin Tendulkar for Mumbai, Virender Sehwag for Delhi, Yuvraj Singh for Punjab, Sourav Ganguly for Kolkata. But MS Dhoni, who was at the peak of his stardom, was without a home,” said Raman.
“So, what did he do? He made Chennai his home. At the time, the icon player was not fixed a salary and would be paid 15% more than the highest-paid player on the team,” he added.
“Since CSK didn’t have an icon player, they were a bit freer to bid for the player of their choice. So the Indian T20 captain went to Chennai because there was no surcharge or GST, so to speak,” Raman added further.
Dhoni is one of the most successful captains in IPL, having won the coveted trophy for as many as three times. In 190 games, the wicket-keeper batsman has amassed 4432 runs with a strike-rate of 137.85. Dhoni has also scored 23 fifties in the cash-rich league.