Dhoni’s brand value raised his price: Chandrasekhar

March 18th, 2008 - 6:22 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, March 18 (IANS) Former India opener and chief selector of Chennai Super Kings V.B. Chandrasekhar Tuesday justified the $1.5 million spent on one-day skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the Indian Premier League (IPL) players’ auction saying that Dhoni’s brand value forced them to raise the initial bid. “Dhoni is the national youth icon, captain of the ODI as well as the T20 squad that won the World Cup for us last year. He thus carries a tremendous brand value and hence we decided to raise the ante in our bid to secure him for Chennai Super Kings,” Chandrasekhar told reporters at a function here organized to announce Tamil film stars Vijay and Nayanthara as the team’s brand ambassadors.

Reviewing the composition of the team, the former national selector said: “We have a perfect mix of youth and experience. We might not have succeeded in roping in a few other players who were on our list, but that was due to the fact that we had to work within our $5 million cap.”

Asked about their failure to get local hero Dinesh Kaarthik, bought by Delhi Daredevils for $525,000, Chandrasekhar reiterated that dwindling fund was the main reason as the Super Kings had already spent huge amounts to procure the likes of Dhoni, Muthaiah Muralitharan ($600,000), Albie Morkel ($625,000), Suresh Raina ($650,000) and Jacob Oram ($625,000).

“Of course, Dinesh was very much in our short list, but then we had to look at the funds available with us after buying Dhoni, Murali and Oram. Instead, we settled for Parthiv Patel ($325,000). I still believe Parthiv is one of the top three wicketkeepers in India at the moment and purely as a batsman, he can walk into any team,” he asserted.

Chandrasekhar added that to provide local flavour in the team, the Super Kings have included junior players like Abhinav Mukund, Napoleon Einstein and R. Ashwin, besides established Ranji stars S. Badrinath and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan.

“We have ensured that the best of young talent in Tamil Nadu forms part of the team and it will provide them an opportunity to share the dressing room with leading international players. We will continue to invest in local junior talents in future too,” he said.

On the appointment of Kepler Wessels as the coach, Chandrasekhar said: “We wanted somebody who would keep the focus on cricket, be a good task master, and help us win the tournament, while at the same time impart valuable tips to budding cricketers in the state. With the sheer amount of experience Wessels has accumulated in the international arena, he fitted our bill perfectly.”

He said the 25-member squad of the Super Kings would be finalised shortly.

The Chennai Super Kings start their IPL campaign against Mumbai Indians at the Chepauk Stadium here April 23.

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