When Mumbai Indians almost signed MS Dhoni in the 2008 IPL auction

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MS Dhoni (Image Source: Twitter)
  • CSK paid a whopping USD 1.5 million to acquire Dhoni in 2008.

  • N Srinivasan narrates how his franchise won the bidding war with Mumbai Indians to procure former India skipper.

The surreal bond between MS Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has reached to an extent where it is totally unimaginable to even think about one without mentioning the other.


CSK roped Dhoni right in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and even after a decade, the franchise is reaping rich rewards for their decision.

The Ranchi-born has led the Super Kings to three championship titles, second only to Mumbai Indians (MI).


Further, CSK is the only franchise to have reached the knock-out rounds of the tournament in every season they have played so far.

But not many people know that if not for a specific regulation, MI would have acquired him in 2008 itself.

N Srinivasan narrates an interesting story about Dhoni’s acquisition

In a recent interview to PTI, N Srinivasan revealed the nitty-gritty of what transpired in the 2008 auctions and how his franchise ensured that Dhoni goes nowhere else.


In the very first auction ahead of IPL 2008, there was a rule which stated that big names like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and others will be playing for the respective home franchise.

So Sachin went to MI, Ganguly was acquired by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Virender Sehwag plied his trade for the then Delhi Daredevils. But, Dhoni didn’t have any home franchise, so there were no restrictions on him.

“It is a question of arithmetic, at that time Mr Bindra was there, Punjab wanted Yuvraj 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,” N Srinivasan said.


“Therefore, all them said they wanted icons, they had to pay the icon 10 per cent than the highest-paid player of the team in the auction. So when the bidding went on for Dhoni, I was clear at any price MS Dhoni,” he added.

Since franchises were restricted to spend within USD 5 million and Mumbai Indians (MI) already spent USD 1.6 million on Tendulkar, they couldn’t afford another million on Dhoni.

“When it came to USD 1.5 million, I think they realised they would have to pay Sachin USD 1.65 million and Dhoni USD 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,” concluded Srinivasan.


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