Unveiling The Strategic Masterstroke: How MS Dhoni Was Sold for $1.5 Million In IPL 2008 Auction
The year was 2008, and the Indian Premier League (IPL) was about to embark on its maiden journey into the world of cricket. This was a time when T20 cricket was on the rise, and the IPL was set to revolutionize the sport. In the midst of this cricketing revolution, one man stood out – Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the fearless leader who had guided India to T20 World Cup glory in 2007.
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The IPL Auction – A Star-Studded Affair
The first-ever IPL auction in February 2008 was a star-studded affair, featuring iconic names from Indian cricket such as Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, and Yuvraj Singh. These players were designated as “icon players” and were entitled to receive 15% more than the highest-paid player in their respective teams.
Dhoni’s Absence from the Icon List
Surprisingly, MS Dhoni was not a part of this elite group of icon players, despite his stellar record in both international cricket and the T20 format. This omission left the door open for other franchises to bid for the charismatic wicket-keeper batter.
Chennai Super Kings’ Clever Strategy
N Srinivasan, the former ICC chairman and owner of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), was determined to secure Dhoni for his team. However, he had a clever strategy up his sleeve. Unlike other franchises, Srinivasan had decided not to go for any icon player for CSK. This decision allowed him to allocate more funds for Dhoni.
The Bidding War for Dhoni
When the bidding for MS Dhoni began, it quickly escalated. Dhoni’s base price was set at $400,000, but it soon surpassed the $900,000 mark. At this point, only two franchises, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings, were in contention to acquire the services of the World Cup-winning captain.
Mumbai Indians’ Dilemma
However, as the bidding reached the $1.5 million mark, Mumbai Indians had a realization. With Sachin Tendulkar already designated as their icon player, signing Dhoni for $1.5 million would consume a significant portion of their $5 million salary cap. In the words of N Srinivasan himself, “When it came to USD 1.5 million, I think they realised they would have to pay Sachin [Tendulkar] USD 1.65 million and [MS] Dhoni USD 1.5 million, five million was the purse and 60% 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’.”
Dhoni’s IPL Earnings Over the Years
Dhoni’s acquisition by CSK in the inaugural IPL auction for $1.5 million marked the beginning of a legendary association. Let’s take a look at Dhoni’s IPL salary journey over the years:
2008: Chennai Super Kings – INR 6 crore
2009: Chennai Super Kings – INR 6 crore
2010: Chennai Super Kings – INR 6 crore
2011: Chennai Super Kings – INR 8.28 crore
2012: Chennai Super Kings – INR 8.28 crore
2013: Chennai Super Kings – INR 8.28 crore
2014: Chennai Super Kings – INR 12.5 crore
2015: Chennai Super Kings – INR 12.5 crore
2016: Rising Pune Supergiants – INR 12.5 crore
2017: Rising Pune Supergiants – INR 12.5 crore
2018: Chennai Super Kings – INR 15 crore
2019: Chennai Super Kings – INR 15 crore
2020: Chennai Super Kings – INR 15 crore
2021: Chennai Super Kings – INR 15 crore
2022: Chennai Super Kings – INR 12 crore
2023: Chennai Super Kings – INR 12 crore
Dhoni’s salary soared over the years, reflecting his exceptional leadership and cricketing prowess.
The strategic masterstroke that brought MS Dhoni to Chennai Super Kings in the IPL 2008 auction is a testament to N Srinivasan’s shrewdness and foresight. It marked the beginning of a glorious chapter in IPL history, as Dhoni went on to become one of the most iconic figures in the league. His journey from a $1.5 million signing to a revered leader in the Chennai Super Kings franchise showcases the impact of strategic decision-making in the world of cricket.