IN A VIDEO posted on Facebook, former Kolkata Knight Riders and India batsman Aakash Chopra has called for the Chennai Super Kings to release MS Dhoni ahead of the 2021 season.
Mr Dhoni has been an omnipresent member of the Super Kings squad having represented the franchise since 2018 and previously from 2008 until 2015, with his two-season spell with Rising Pune Supergiants coming during the Super Kings’ suspension from the tournament.
The Super Kings faired poorly in 2020, failing to reach the play-offs for the first time in their history.
Mr Chopra explained: “I think CSK should release MS Dhoni going into the mega auction, if there is a mega auction then you will be with that player for three years. But will Dhoni stay with you for three years? I am not saying don’t keep Dhoni, he will play the next IPL, but if you keep him as a retained player but you will have to pay Rs 15 crore (£1.5million).
“If Dhoni does not stay with you for three years and he plays just the 2021 season, you will get the Rs 15 crore back for the 2022 edition, but how will you find a player worth that Rs 15 crore? That’s the advantage of a mega auction, you can create a big team if you have the money. If you release Dhoni for the mega auction, you can pick him with the Right To Match card and you can pick the right players by having the desired money in your kitty. You can pick Dhoni in the auction, from CSK point of view, if they release Dhoni and then pick him up in auction, it would be beneficial for them.
“CSK needs a mega auction, the side does not have many players that can be retained. If you want to make a team from the scratch, then are you willing to spend big bucks on the likes of Faf du Plessis and Ambati Rayudu? I don’t think that CSK will look at the likes of [Suresh] Raina and Harbhajan [Singh] if they are making a team from scratch.”
Mr Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket in August, meaning the captain will play no part in the team’s tour of Australia, which is scheduled to feature two three day tour matches against Australia A, three ODI’s, three T20I’s, and four test matches.
He will feature for Jharkand in the Ranji Trophy, scheduled to start in January but no schedule is yet confirmed at the time of writing and in September a BBCI official told ESPNCricinfro that no domestic cricket was still a possibility.
They explained: “Nothing has changed officially, but it seems impossible that we will start in November as planned, with [Covid-19] numbers going up all the time.”
The November start date was of course pushed back.
The official continued: “We are trying to get the season underway, but it is possible that there will be no cricket, or we start in December-January.”
The tournament is likely to end before the commencement of the 2021 IPL.