When Dhoni's Wisdom Led CSK's Surprise Bid for Rahane

When Dhoni's Wisdom Led CSK's Surprise Bid for Rahane

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Rahane may not have been a highly sought-after player before the IPL 2023 auction, but the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) chose to place their faith in the experienced cricketer. This decision proved to be incredibly rewarding, as Rahane delivered outstanding performances that surpassed all expectations.

Ajinkya Rahane was never renowned for his T20 batting prowess, as evidenced by his previous 14 seasons in the IPL, during which he maintained an average strike rate of 120.7 while accumulating 4074 runs and achieving 30 scores of fifty or more. Between 2020 and 2022, Rahane's strike rate hovered just above 100 across 16 innings, and in the 15th season of the IPL, the Kolkata Knight Riders only provided him with a solitary opportunity despite spending a significant amount on acquiring him at the auction. Consequently, Rahane wasn't considered a prominent player leading up to the 2023 auction. However, the Chennai Super Kings displayed faith in the experienced cricketer, and their decision was rewarded in the most astonishing manner possible.

Rahane’s impressive form in IPL 2023

Throughout IPL 2023, Rahane has displayed exceptional performance in the six innings he has played. Accumulating a total of 224 runs, including two half-centuries, he has maintained a remarkable strike rate of 189.83, which stands as the second-highest among batters who have faced a minimum of 100 balls this season. Rahane's sensational form has not only contributed to his personal success but has also earned him the prestigious Player of the Match award. As a result, the Chennai Super Kings find themselves positioned as strong contenders to secure a spot in the playoffs of IPL 2023.

Rahane's remarkable resurgence with the bat has been nothing short of extraordinary, and the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have been reaping the benefits of his outstanding performances. However, the credit for making this significant decision goes to CSK's CEO Kasi Viswanathan, who attributed it to the team's skipper, MS Dhoni. During a media conversation, Viswanathan disclosed the precise words spoken by Dhoni during CSK's strategy meeting prior to the IPL 2023 auction. Dhoni's persuasive words urged the management to select Rahane, a move that has proven to be immensely rewarding for the team.

What did MS Dhoni say to the CSK CEO?

"If you can get him, nothing like it,' MS told me when I asked him, and that is why we bid for Rahane,"

Viswanathan recalled. The words spoken by MS Dhoni were pivotal in shaping CSK's choice to pursue Rahane. Interestingly, no other bidders contested for Rahane at the auction, and CSK managed to acquire him at his base price of INR 50 lakh.

The decision to pick Rahane was undeniably risky, taking into account not only his performance record in the IPL but also his recent domestic form. During the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Rahane struggled, scoring just 112 runs in eight innings at a strike rate of 117.89, with his highest score being 34. However, this triumph is not solely Rahane's achievement; it is also a triumph for CSK, and it can be attributed to Dhoni's astute judgement and wisdom.

Rahane’s journey in IPL

Rahane has been a part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) since the inaugural season. He first played for Mumbai Indians from the year 2008-10. He was then acquired by Rajasthan Royals, where he played from 2011-15, and had a major role in the squad. However, after the franchise got banned, he played for Rising Pune Supergiants in 2016-17, returning to Rajasthan’s squad once again from 2018-2019.

However, after dismal performances, he was released and he played for Delhi Capitals for a couple of years. He then had a minor stint with KKR last year. CSK finally acquired him and what a turnaround it has been for him. Due to his performance in IPL and domestic cricket, he was selected in the squad for the WTC 2023 Final, scheduled on June 7-11 in England between India & Australia.

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