S Badrinath, the former Chennai Super Kings batsman, has revealed that the franchise’s first choice ahead of the 2008 IPL season was Virender Sehwag, but they ultimately went with MS Dhoni.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Badrinath recalled that the Chennai-based franchise had identified Sehwag as their first choice for the captain’s role. However, the opening batsman decided to stick with Delhi, as he was brought up there and also represented them at the domestic level, paving the way for Dhoni to lead CSK.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) March 18, 2019
The wicketkeeper-batsman became the most expensive signing in the first-ever IPL auction and has since led CSK to three titles. “IPL started in 2008, and if you see who was the first option for Chennai Super Kings, it was Virender Sehwag,” Badrinath said. “The management had decided on picking Sehwag for sure, but Sehwag himself said that he was brought up in Delhi, so he would have a better connection.
“The management agreed for him to play in Delhi, thinking it would be better. Then came the auctions, and they saw who was the better player, and before that India won the 2007 World T20. And only then did they decide to sign Dhoni.
An interesting suggestion from Gautam Gambhir.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) September 1, 2020
“In 2008, MS Dhoni was the most expensive player, they bought him for INR 6 crores. So this is a story you probably don’t know but Dhoni was picked instead of Sehwag. According to me, MS Dhoni coming to CSK was killing three birds with one stone. One, he is one of the best captains the world has ever seen. There is no trophy that he doesn’t have.
“Second, the best finisher. A finisher is a very important part of all the best T20 teams around the world. Even if you see all the good teams today, Mumbai Indians have Pollard, Kolkata Knight Riders have Andre Russell, CSK have MS Dhoni. And third, he is an excellent wicketkeeper. One of the best and safest keepers I have ever seen.”