Super Kings may retain Dhoni, Raina

Indian skipper MS Dhoni is all set to get a three-year extension of his contract with CSK. PTI

The IPL and Champions League champions have also zeroed in on opener Murali Vijay and South African all-rounder Albie Morkel as the other two players who will form the component of four that any IPL team can retain, with the approval of the player of course, ahead of the auction scheduled for January 8 and 9.

The CSK management team thought long and hard before deciding that even at $1.8 million, it made excellent business sense to retain Dhoni. CSK’s building of ‘brand Dhoni’ has been a huge hit; the Indian skipper’s cricketing skills, tactical nous and marketability make him an instant candidate for retention.

For Raina, Vijay and Morkel, the Super Kings will have to dish out $1.5 million, $1.2 million and $900,000, numbers well worth the investment, according to the India Cements-owned franchise’s marketing and cricketing gurus.

Dhoni, Raina and Vijay are all part of the Indian squad for the third Test against New Zealand beginning here on Saturday, and are expected to be handed over their retention contracts during the course of this game.

This decision means there is no guarantee the likes of Sri Lankan offie Muttiah Muralitharan, home-grown off-spinner R Ashwin and middle-order batsman S Badrinath, who all played huge roles in CSK’s twin triumphs in the IPL and the Champions League, won’t be snapped up by other franchises. CSK, it is learnt, are keen to ensure they pick up Ashwin at the auction, but it is unlikely they will have the financial resources left to buy back both Muralitharan and Badrinath.

Only Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils of the other remaining teams are inclined to dish out big sums to retain players, it is further learnt, with Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga for the first mentioned and Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag for the Daredevils the obvious candidates.

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