India ODI Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has played for the Chennai Super Kings till the team was suspended earlier this year, is all set to don the new jersey. The former CSK captain was picked by the Sanjeev Goenka owned new franchisee Pune for Rs. 12.5 crore in the IPL player draft for the year 2016. Dhoni's India teammate Suresh Raina was the first preference for the other new team Rajkot, which is owned by Intex Mobiles. He will also get an identical Rs 12.5 crore by virtue of being the first player selected by the franchise.
Excited to play for the beautiful vibrant city- Rajkot in @IPL. Looking forward to have new teammates and support from the people of Gujarat, Raina tweeted after the draft. In-form Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane was the second choice for Pune, while Rajkot opted for Ravindra Jadeja in the same position. Both players will be entitled to a purse of Rs 9.5 crore per year.
The draft process was necessitated following the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the IPL for two years in the wake of the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal. The suspension was ordered by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice (retd) R M Lodha committee, which was formed to decide the quantum of punishment following the investigations.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was picked by Pune as their third choice and will get a purse of Rs 7.5 crore. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was Rajkot's choice. In the fourth spot, both the teams opted Australians with Steve Smith going to Pune and James Faulkner going to Rajkot.
Pune opted for South African batsman Faf du Plessis as their fifth and final player, while West Indian Dwayne Bravo was Rajkot's pick. Both players will get Rs 4 crore.
The draft pool only included players from Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals,. the two teams which have been barred from participation. The players not picked will now go to the general IPL auction scheduled for February 6. The next edition of the Twenty20 league will be held from April 9 to May 29.
Team Pune's picks: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis.
Team Rajkot's picks: Suresh Raina, R Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo.