IPL: Pune picks Dhoni, Raina goes to Rajkot
New Rising, the Pune franchise bought by Kolkata-based businessman Sanjiv Goenka, expectedly picked Indian limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the first player for Rs 12.5 crore in the first-ever player draft of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Intex Technologies owner Keshav Bansal, who invested in the Rajkot franchise, picked Suresh Raina as the first choice followed by Ravindra Jadeja - the local Saurashtra boy who has grown up playing in Rajkot.
Dhoni and Raina will play for opposing teams for the first time in the IPL.
New Rising picked up former Rajasthan Royals batsman Ajinkya Rahane as their second choice. It would be interesting to see Dhoni, who has criticised Rahane's 'slow batting' on Indian pitches, team up for the slam bang tournament.
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was then picked up by Pune and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum went to Rajkot.
Australian captain Steve Smith was picked by Pune while his teammate all-rounder James Faulkner went to Rajkot.
Pune then picked up South African T20 captain Faf du Plessis and Rajkot went for West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
The two new franchises will have to pay Rs 12.5 crore to the first player they pick at the draft, Rs 9.5 crore to the second, Rs 7.5 crore to the third, Rs 5.5 crore to the fourth and Rs 4 crore to the fifth.
However, there is a provision to safeguard the interests of the players in this formula being applied by the BCCI. If Dhoni's existing contract with Super Kings is anything more or less than Rs. 12.5 crore (as he was picked first), the balance amount will have to be separately adjusted by the franchise buying him.
According to an IPL official, if Dhoni was being paid only Rs 50 lakh by Chennai Super Kings, he will continue to get only Rs 50 lakh from the new franchise but Rs. 12.5 crore will be deducted from the salary purse (the franchise won't be able to use this money). Likewise, if Dhoni was being paid Rs 20 crore by Chennai Super Kings, the franchise buying him, in this case Pune, will find Rs 12.5 crore deducted from the purse whereas it will have to pay Dhoni the balance of Rs 7.5 crore additionally.
New Rising had the first go in the draft because they bid less than Intex in the IPL franchise auction earlier this month in New Delhi. New Rising bought the Pune franchise for Rs minus 16 crore while Intex bought the Rajkot franchise for Rs minus 10 crore.
The two IPL franchises had the option of picking five players each on an alternate basis, to form the crux of their new squads.
The remaining players from the pool of 50-cricketers who until the previous season were employed with Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals - will now go into a separate pool, to be brought up for auction on February 6 next year in Mumbai.
The two franchises have a limited purse of Rs 66 crore to form their squads for the season and a minimum spending of Rs 40 crore was mandatory between the draft and the auction in February.
New Rising was unlikely to let go of Dhoni, India's most successful captain, who will lead the national team into the World T20 at home next year just before the IPL.