IPL 2018: Chennai Super Kings confirm MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina as 2 retained players

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With Dhoni and Raina confirmed favourite picks, CSK is still mulling over the third choice, with a dearth of options available.

(Photo: PTI)

Mumbai: Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings on Wednesday decided to retain former skipper MS Dhoni and teammate Suresh Raina ahead of the player retention event here on Thursday.

With each team allowed to retain as many as five players via pre-auction retention and RTMs, it will be interesting to see how many players each team will retain ahead of the auction. The teams can retain as many as three players before auction and if they have not retained three or anyone, then they will have as many as three RTMs up their sleeves.

”We are retaining Dhoni and Raina, and the third we are contemplating,” a CSK official was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

With Dhoni and Raina confirmed favourite picks, CSK is still mulling over the third choice, with a dearth of options available.

CSK Director George John previously discussed that there was no way that the management would let of two experienced campaigners – Dhoni and Raina.

“That’s an obvious one. We will have him (Dhoni) back as captain. We don’t know by when we have to submit it (the list of retained players). Once the deadline is set, we will finalise the list. For Dhoni, it would be like returning home, 100 percent. That’s what he also said during the TNPL. Raina is not only popular among Super Kings fans, but also a proven match-winner in IPL. Last season, I think he averaged around 40,” he explained.

Raina may currently be out of the Virat Kohli’s Team India, but there’s no doubting that the Uttar Pradesh all-rounder still remains one of the best in IPL. The southpaw is one of the highest run-getters in the league with 4540 runs to his account at an impressive strike-rate of 139.09.

After a two-year spot-fixing ban was imposed on CSK in 2015, Raina went on to captain Gujarat Lions (GL) while Dhoni led Sanjeev Goenka-owned Rising Pune Supergiants, before Steve Smith replaced him in the captaincy role.

With CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) making way for GL and RPS, teams can retain or exercise the RTM options from a pool of players “who played for them respectively in IPL 2015 and who were part of RPS (Rising Pune Supergiant) and GL (Gujarat Lions) squads in IPL 2017”.

If CSK decides to retain three players, a total of Rs. 33 crores will be deducted from their budget. The remaining two can be roped in through the Right to Match (RTM) cards, which the franchises can activate during the auctions next month.