Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have decided to retain MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina for the IPL 2018. A decision with regard to retaining the third player is yet to be finalised. For all franchises, deadline for submitting the list of retained players is January 4. IPL franchises can retain a maximum five players by virtue of a combination of player retention and right-to-match (RTM) cards (during auction).”We are retaining Dhoni and Raina, and the third we are contemplating,” a CSK official told The Indian Express. The franchise director George John had earlier made it clear that Dhoni was an obvious choice. “That’s an obvious one. We will have him (Dhoni) back as captain. We don’t know by when we have to submit it (the list of retained players). Once the deadline is set, we will finalise the list. For Dhoni it would be like returning home, 100 per cent. That’s what he also said during the TNPL,” John had said.
Raina is out of the Team India at the moment, but the left-hander is an IPL legend, with 4,540 runs in 161 matches at an excellent strike-rate of 139.09. He has been a vital cog in the CSK wheel – six-time finalists and two-time champions – before the franchise, along with Rajasthan Royals, was suspended for two years as an after-effect of the 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal. Back again, CSK and the Royals can retain or exercise the RTM options from a pool of players “who played for them respectively in IPL 2015 and who were part of RPS (Rising Pune Supergiant) and GL (Gujarat Lions) squads in IPL 2017”. Dhoni played for Pune as a makeshift arrangement, while Raina led Gujarat Lions for the last two years.
The rules laid down for retention and/or RTM state – Maximum number of three capped Indian players; Maximum number of two overseas players; Maximum number of two uncapped Indian players. The restrictions would apply to a total of five players through retention and RTMs. Of the five players, a franchise can retain a maximum three players ahead of the auction or use three RTMs during the auction. In case of no retention before player auction, each franchise can have “up to three RTMs”.
No KKR message to Gambhir yet
Meanwhile, according to sources, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Gautam Gambhir hasn’t yet been sounded out by the franchise over his retention. Under Gambhir’s leadership, KKR became one of the most consistent teams in the IPL, winning the title twice. There’s a school of thought, which suggests that rather than spending Rs 15 crore as retainer fee for a player, the RTM option might be the more logical option for a player who is 36 years old. With two days left to submit the list, the Knights management will have to decide.