Richard Madley, a former IPL auctioneer, recalled the first such bidding battle he observed in 2008. Richard Madley disclosed how Chennai Super Kings acquired MS Dhoni in the first season of the IPL in 2008. The former Indian captain MS Dhoni was the center of attention at that auction.
Ravichandran Ashwin, a seasoned Indian all-rounder, invited Madley to participate in a freewheeling debate on his YouTube channel. He recalls how Rajasthan Royals acquired Aussie legend Shane Warne, for his base fee and his astonishment over it. Warne was the second player from the bag. As the Royals staged a surprising title victory, Madley lauded the selection as the “smartest move” of the auction.
The 64-year-old then spoke about Dhoni and how he sparked the first-ever bidding war at the auction.
THE HYPE AROUND DHONI
The previous year, MS Dhoni made headlines leading the Indian cricket team to victory in the ICC T20 World Cup. Consequently, he generated massive hype, and many teams expressed interest in signing Dhoni during the 2008 IPL auction.
“Then out of the bag came the man himself, the ultimate all-rounder Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and there we saw the first bidding war of many in the IPL auctions,” Madely recalled.
Both the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings made bids for Dhoni. Chennai lacked an icon player, whereas Mumbai had Sachin Tendulkar. Ultimately, CSK signed the star wicketkeeper-batter for a hefty USD 1.5 million at the time.
The credit for the purchase goes to CSK owner N Srinivasan, who formulated a mathematical plan.
“It is a question of arithmetic,” Srinivasan stated in an interview. “All of them said they wanted icons, they had to pay the icon, 10 percent more than the highest-paid player of the team in the auction. So when the bidding went on for Dhoni, I was clear at any price MS Dhoni. When it came to USD 1.5 million, I think they realized they would have to pay Sachin USD 1.65 million and Dhoni USD 1.5 million, five million was the purse and sixty percent of the purse would go to these two players. So they stopped and that’s how we got Dhoni because I said I don’t want an icon,” concluded Srinivasan.
CSK has been one of the most successful franchises in the league’s history under Dhoni’s leadership. CSK won the Indian Premier League four times, the most recent in 2021.