MS Dhoni, the name itself is enough for any team to shell out big bucks in the auction to acquire this player for their teams. But, after buying him in the first season, the Chennai Super Kings have not let go of him. And, why would they, as he is the man who has led the team to victory in 3 seasons of the Indian Premier League and two of the now shut, Champions League T20. For a leader like him, anyone will be willing to pay an insane amount of money.
And, with the big auction of 2021, allowing no retentions for any team, many teams will be eyeing to get Dhoni into their squad. While it is pretty sure, that the franchise that gets its core identity from Dhoni, will get him back using their ‘Right To Match’ card, there still remains a chance of a bidding war to break out when Dhoni comes up for auction.
There were speculations that this one would be the last season for the stalwart, but N Srinivasan, owner of the Chennai Super Kings recently cleared the air on the matter and confirmed Dhoni’s participation in the 2021 season of IPL.
So, here’s the list of three such teams, who are expected to battle it out among themselves to get Dhoni, before CSK uses their RTM card:
1. Rajasthan Royals
The winners of the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, back in 2008, have had a pretty rough run the IPL after the first season. With the departure of Shane Warne in 2011, the team has had little success in the tournament.
And, to add insult to injury they were suspended from the IPL for two seasons owing to match-fixing allegations. After that, they have never seemed settled. And, in an attempt to plug in all the loopholes and bring the side back to glory, the team’s management will try and bid on MS Dhoni in the mega auction of the 2021 season of IPL.
Ajinkya Rahane, the batting mainstay of the side, was given the duty to captain the side after their return, but he could not do well in the role. It was pretty evident that the added burden of captaincy was affecting his performance.
So, in the next season, after the first half, they handed over the captaincy to Steve Smith, who also did not fare well in the season. And, in an attempt to even release Smith from the burden of captaincy and get in a player of Indian origin into the team, having a lot of experience, they will have their eyes pinned on getting Dhoni into the side.
Another role that Dhoni will be a perfect fit for in the Royals’ team, will be to act as a transition player between the openers of the team and the big hitters of the side, like Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler. Dhoni also has a great pair of hands behind the wicket and this would help the other wicketkeepers that are there in the side, get valuable inputs and assistance, while on the field. And, if the need arises, Dhoni can also keep the wickets, in case, they fail to turn up for any game, or need a break from this role to focus more on their batting.
2. Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI Punjab has been one of the most unsettled teams of the Indian Premier League right from the start. In the 13 edition of the IPL that they have been a part of, they have had 12 captains, lead their side. The lack of a proper, leader itself is an indication that they need someone who can get them to settle and build a proper core around which, the rest of the team can be built. And, MS Dhoni is the kind of player they need.
Dhoni, a man who has the gift of being able to lead the side, finish games and keep wickets, all at the same time, will be on top of the team’s list of players that they would bid on. Dhoni, not only will provide them with a great leader, who knows how to make a group of players into a team but also will give them an Indian player, who has ample amount of experience with him.
In their current squad, apart from Chris Gayle, there is no other player who has the experience that can match the amount Dhoni has. Even their captain for the 2020 season, KL Rahul who in all probabilities will be bought back, doesn’t have captaincy experience and also does not have the experience that the role of a captain requires.
A factor that also puts Kings XI, in one of the teams that would place bids for Dhoni, is that they have been known to back the old-horses of the sport in the past. In the 2018 auction, where no one was bidding for a player like Chris Gayle, it was Kings XI that invested in him.
The 40-year-old was bought on the last day of the auction at his base price by the Kings XI Punjab, and anyone who saw, that auction, would remember the applause that was heard in the room once Gayle was bought. Given their history of backing experienced players, Kings XI are bound to engage in a bidding battle for MS Dhoni.
3. Delhi Capitals
Formerly known as the Delhi Daredevils, the Delhi Capitals, are also one of the teams that would look to buy MS Dhoni if given a chance. Just like their counterparts from Punjab, they also lack the presence of a proper leader in their side. And, who would be a better choice than Dhoni to lead their side to glory for the first time, if they get him in the 2021 auction of the Indian Premier League.
While they do have experienced players like Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin and will likely get them back in the squad in 2021 auction, none of them is known for their skills to lead a side.
The Delhi Capitals, who are still looking for a chance to lift the trophy, would at any cost, would want to get Dhoni to play for them. They have been on a lookout for a captain for a long time now, and have acquired Ravichandran Ashwin to lead them in the 2020 season. But, they will happily look to swap out him in exchange for Dhoni.
Dhoni knows the game of cricket inside out and will be more than happy to work with a squad of talented players like this one. He has the ability to get the best out of players, and the lot that he would have, if the Delhi management, decides to get back some of its marquee players like Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, he can definitely get Delhi to the heights that he got CSK to.
Even if Dhoni does not play, just his presence in the dugout makes a lot of difference. He can guide youngsters on the right path and in the right way. This makes him a contender for getting big bucks from the Delhi management, who will look to get him and then acquire youngsters, who can be groomed by Dhoni to become match winners.
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