Former BCCI president N Srinivasan revealed that CSK were able to sign MS Dhoni in 2008, before the first IPL Auction, only because they opted out of choosing an icon player. He also admitted that Dhoni’s keen eye and uncanny knack of spotting talented cricketers helped CSK in the past.
Just before the first IPL Auction, CSK was a franchise which did not have any icon players, with franchises like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians all opting to choose an icon player for themselves. That initially put CSK on the backfoot, given that they did not have a leader for their franchise.
However, the franchise and its management went all guns blazing to sway MS Dhoni their way, with a winning bid of USD 1.5 million in the 2008 IPL auction helping them get hold of the T20 World Cup winning skipper. That one piece of business back in 2008 turned out to be the greatest coup in IPL history as under Dhoni's leadership, CSK went on to win 3 IPL titles and establish themselves as one of the best T20 sides in the entire world. Talking about the masterstroke, N Srinivasan revealed that the franchise could only get MS Dhoni because they opted out of choosing an icon player.
"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 on these two players. So they stopped and that's how we got Dhoni because I said I don't want an icon." Srinivasan told PTI, reported TOI.
Srinivasan also opened up that since the franchise had to pay their icons 10% more than the highest-paid player of the team during the auction, he was confident that the franchise could bring Dhoni home.
"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.
The former owner of the franchise also stated that the now 39-year-old’s exceptional skill at spotting talent helped CSK immensely in the past. He also added that the entire team has grown on the back of one man, who has been both an able leader and a player, leading by example on both fronts.
"He is a person, you know, you give him any team he will lead it. He is good at spotting talent. There are some players in the CSK team suggested by Dhoni who were not as prominent as they are today," he said.
"He has got an uncanny knack of spotting a person who is capable. A lot of them have grown. See the entire team has grown, I think that there is a special commitment that a player brings to the field when he is in CSK."