Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has decided to retain the mercurial M.S. Dhoni and the aggressive southpaw Suresh Raina in its squad ahead of IPL-11.
Each franchise will be allowed to keep a maximum of three cricketers and CSK, according to sources, is keen to pick either R. Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja as its third player.
Talking to The Hindu on Friday, CSK’s Wholetime Director K. George John said: “We have decided on Dhoni and Raina. We are yet to take a call on the third cricketer. The franchises have to send their list to the BCCI before January 4, 2018.”
If CSK retains the three cricketers, ₹33 crore will be deducted from its total purse of ₹80 crore for the auction.
Given his leadership on and off the field, his influential game and popularity, Dhoni’s retention by CSK was always on the cards.
There, however, were some doubts about Raina, whose India fortunes have dwindled; his form in domestic cricket has been ordinary too.
But then, Raina has had a glittering career with CSK, can be destructive with the bat in T20 cricket and adds variety to the line-up as a left-hander.
With 4,540 runs at 34.14 and a strike rate of 139.09, the 31-year-old Raina is the highest run-getter in the IPL. CSK has immense faith in his ability as a game-changing batsman.
After retaining three players, CSK has the right to match the price of two players, who turned out for it in 2015, at the auction.
John said: “There is Dwanye Bravo, Brendon McCullum, Faf du Plessis, and Andrew Tye. We are following tournaments such as the Big Bash to keep a watch on their form.”
CSK is also keen to win some Tamil Nadu players for retaining the local flavour. “We want to, but it also depends on how the auction plays out and their prices. Tamil Nadu players are in demand and the franchises know all about them.”
Already some franchises have shown interest in cricketers such as K. Vignesh, Rahil Shah, R. Sai Kishore, N. Jagadeesan, and V. Yo Mahesh.