Former CSK veteran Subramaniam Badrinath has revealed that it was Virender Sehwag who his franchise had lined up as their first pick, before being forced to change their decision due to the latter becoming Delhi’s icon player. It was after the Sehwag hijack that CSK went ahead and signed MS Dhoni.
On February 20, 2008, the future of Chennai Super Kings - and subsequently the Indian Premier League - changed forever when the N Srinivasan-owned franchise purchased a 26-year-old MS Dhoni for $1.5 million. Dhoni’s signing would go on to become the biggest coup in the competition’s history as after leading them to the final in the inaugural edition, the Jharkhand man would go on to deliver them three titles as skipper, whilst also taking them to the play-offs with a 100% success rate, thereby making the franchise the most consistent one in the entire competition.
However, things could have been starkly different - for a lot of individuals - if not for the intervention of the Delhi Daredevils management. As revealed by former CSK star Subramanaim Badrinath on his YouTube channel, it was Virender Sehwag who CSK were lining up to sign ahead of IPL 2008, before Delhi hijacked the move by roping in the explosive right-hander as their ‘icon player’.
“IPL started in 2008, and if you see who was the first option for Chennai Super Kings, it was Virender Sehwag. The management had decided on picking Sehwag for sure, but Sehwag himself said that he was brought up in Delhi, so he would have a better connection," Badrinath said in a video posted on his YouTube channel, reported Times Now.
The ‘Sehwag to CSK’ fantasy remains one of the biggest ‘What-ifs’ in the history of Indian cricket, but as things transpired in reality, fate ended up favouring CSK as with Delhi winning no IPL titles, the Men in Yellow became the beneficiaries of the ‘Sehwag to Delhi; Dhoni to Chennai’ move. Badrinath, who spent almost his entirety of his IPL career with CSK, revealed that the management evaluated Dhoni and picked him in the auction only after being completely satisfied with the wicket-keeper.
"The management agreed for him to play in Delhi, thinking it would be better. Then came the auctions, and they saw who was the better player, and before that India won the 2007 World T20. And only then did they decide to sign Dhoni."
Sehwag moved to Kings XI Punjab from Delhi in 2014, and while he never played for CSK, he did, however, end up punishing them by scoring a monster century in the qualifier game between the two sides in IPL 2014.