When Indian Premiere League started off for its first season in 2008, T20 World Cup winning Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a player every franchise was looking to buy. But on the auction day, it was Chennai Super Kings (CSK) that made the highest bid of Rs 6 crore to book the player. The rest was history.
Under the leadership of former Indian captain, CSK became one of the most consistent performers in the tournament over the years. CSK won two consecutive IPLs in 2010 and 2011 and also remained runners-up in 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015. But the two-year ban implemented on CSK by RM Lodha committee, saw the wicketkeeper-batsman making his way to a new franchise, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), in IPL 2016 and IPL 2017.
The retention policies listed by IPL Governing Council on Wednesday has again opened doors for Dhoni to make a return to CSK. The guidelines state that both CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) can retain any player which played for them in IPL 2015 and were also a part of the squad of RPS and Gujarat Lions (GL) in IPL 2017.
Dhoni fits both the criteria. Under his leadership, CSK reached the final in IPL 2015 but failed to clinch the trophy for the third time. The skipper scored 372 runs in 17 innings in the tournament at an average of 31. In IPL 2017, the 36-year old was also part of RPS side which reached the final but suffered a defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians.
Dhoni’s return to CSK will boost the returning franchise. The right-hand batsman, in nine seasons of IPL, has scored 3560 runs at an average of 37.87 and a strike rate of 136. 71. But it still remains to be seen whether Chennai will employ him as captain again, in case they decide to retain him.