Ageing cricketers ‘priceless’ for Chennai Super Kings

February 24th, 2008 - 4:40 pm ICT by admin  

By Abhishek Roy
New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Matthew Hayden, Muttiah Muralitharan and Stephen Fleming’s age might be on the wrong side of 30 but their new employers India Cements are happy to include them on board the Chennai Super Kings team in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Super Kings shelled out a record $5.9 million for the 11 players they bought at the auction in Mumbai Wednesday.

They bought India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a staggering $1.5 million, the highest bid amount at the auction for IPL’s Twenty20 tournament starting April 18.

While paying such a huge amount for India’s Twenty20 World Championship winning captain maybe a good proposition, Super Kings owner N. Srinivasan, the managing director of India Cements, feels that significant amount of money on Hayden, Muralitharan, Mkhaya Ntini, Fleming and Michael Hussey was also a wise investment.

Twenty20 is considered cut-out for young cricketers and the presence of other young legs like Suresh Raina, Albie Morkel and Parthiv Patel will obviously make a difference, Srinivasan said.

“If you look at our side it is very balanced and I think our investment is very much justified. A good side is always a mix of youth and experience. When a team is in crisis situation it will be the experience, which will help the youth to bail out the side,” Srinivasan told IANS.

Srinivasan, who is also the treasurer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), claimed that going by current form the 30 plus cricketers are good enough to survive the newest and fastest version of the game.

“They have an envious record and are performing even better than the youngsters. They are priceless and will be an asset for us,” said Srinivasan.

Asked, whether the team went for Dhoni for his “glamour quotient”, Srinivasan said: “He is a rare cricketer, genuine all rounder. He is an explosive batsman, an agile wicket keeper and if needed he can take off his gloves and can even bowl gentle medium pacers.”

With 11 players bought in auction, is there any room to give enough chance to local talent?

“The whole idea of IPL is to promote local talent. And we will do that 100 percent. I think the kind of players we have bought will inspire the next generation to take up the sport as a viable career option,” said Srinivasan.

He was also optimistic that IPL team owners would make a handsome profit in the first year itself and fan and city loyalty will help them to build brand equity for Super Kings.

“If you see the kind of hysteria the IPL has created, I am sure the owners will make profit in the first year. The teams will not only get a share of the IPL’s telecast rights but also the local revenues like gate collection and a significant part of the in stadia advertisements,” he said.

With some of the big names in world cricket in the team, Super Kings will be the side to watch out for. They will face Mumbai in their opening match April 22.

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