The IPL Governing Council had a meeting to discuss the next season
When news filtered in on Wednesday on IPL player retention, there was relief and joy in the Chennai Super Kings camp.
It also meant CSK’s talismanic captain M.S. Dhoni would return to the side after his two-year stint with Rising Pune Super Giant. Dhoni’s name has been synonymous with that of CSK.
Simply put, his retention is a done deal. Dhoni too, it is learnt, is keen on wearing the franchise’s yellow jersey again.
CSK’s whole-time director K. George John told The Hindu, “We would love to have Dhoni back. He has been one of the pillars of CSK and has such a huge following here.”
John added, “Dhoni adds considerable value to the team. While his ability as a winning captain and an attacking wicketkeeper-batsman is well known, he has this rare quality of being able to connect with the fans.”
Indeed, Dhoni has been the face of CSK. And his bond with Chepauk and the crowds here is symbiotic.
The franchise has not decided on which two other cricketers to retain. CSK will have to primarily choose between R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina or a foreign player such as Dwayne Bravo in whom the Chennai team continues to have faith.
CSK is now awaiting instructions from the BCCI on when to send in the list of cricketers it wants to retain.
“An IPL Franchise is eligible to secure up to five players by virtue of a combination of player retention (pre-player auction) and right to match (RTM) (during the player auction),” BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary said in a statement after the meeting.
“The player pool available for CSK and RR for retention/RTM will be those who played for them in IPL 2015 and who were part of the Rising Pune Super Giant and Gujarat Lions squads in 2017,” he added.
The IPL Governing Council hiked the salary budget of the franchises from ₹66 crore to ₹80 crore for next year’s auction, tentatively set for February.
For 2019 and 2020, the cap will be increased to ₹82 and ₹85 crore respectively.
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said all decisions were taken after reaching a consensus with the teams.
He further said that the auction will be held in the last week of January or early February.