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MS Dhoni set for CSK return in IPL 2018 as Governing Council releases retention policy

MS Dhoni played for Pune for the last two seasons as a stop-gap arrangement. Last year, the now disbanded franchise had stripped him of captaincy, appointing Steve Smith in charge instead.

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata | Updated: December 7, 2017 3:43:22 pm
Chennai Super Kings player MS Dhoni in action MS Dhoni is likely to be retained by Chennai Super Kings. (Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises can retain a maximum five players by virtue of a combination of player retention and right-to-match (RTM) cards (during auction). The salary cap for each team has been increased from Rs 66 crore to Rs 80 crore for the 2018 season, while Rs 82 crore and Rs 85 crore are allotted per side for the next two years. A franchise, however, would be allowed to spend Rs 33 crore on retentions prior to the 2018 auction. The IPL Governing Council (GC) took the decisions at a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.

With Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals returning to the fold after serving two-year suspensions, the GC also decided that the two franchises 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”. It paved the way for MS Dhoni’s return to CSK.

“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 percent. That’s what he also said during the TNPL,” CSK director George John told The Indian Express.

Dhoni played for Pune for the last two seasons as a stop-gap arrangement. Last year, the now disbanded franchise had stripped him of captaincy, appointing Steve Smith in charge instead.

John expressed his satisfaction over the arrangements. “We are extremely happy and elated. This is what we wanted. This is what we stated in the meeting and this is what we got. We focused on continuity,” he said, adding that a two-year hiatus won’t make things difficult for them as they would be getting “the core of the team back”.

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. “Almost six out of eight teams wanted about six to eight retentions. In a way, we have found a middle path (with the possibility of buying back five players through retentions and RTMs),” IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said after the meeting.

He informed that the auction would be held in the last week of January or early February. 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”.

The franchises had failed to reach consensus on retentions and RTMs during their meeting in Mumbai last month.
One franchise wanted five retentions, another team preferred one, while another franchise wanted everyone to go back to the auction pool. But they now appear OK with the BCCI decisions.

“We are pretty comfortable with the salary cap and the alignment. This is what we were expecting. So we are fine with that. As far as the retentions and RTMs, I think it was expected. We were gunning for RTMs, so we got three RTMs and we are happy about that. I think retention is there for brand continuity and the teams also are associated with the players that identify with them. So it’s fair,” Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua told this paper.

Each team will have to spend a minimum 75 percent of the salary cap every season.

If a franchise retains three players, then the first player would cost Rs 15 crore, second Rs 11 crore and the third Rs 7 crore. In case of two retentions, the first player would be valued at Rs 12.5 crore and the second Rs 8.5 crore. Retaining just one player pre-auction would see a franchise lose Rs 12.5 crore from its purse.

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