Former IPL COO Sundar Raman on Thursday revealed the story Chennai Super Kings cleverly and effortlessly picking MS Dhoni at the inaugural auctions while Delhi Daredevils had missed out on the opportunity to bag Virat Kohli who was coming off fresh from the U-19 World Cup win.
Over the course of the next 12 years, Dhoni remained with Chennai Super Kings and even guided them to three IPL trophies among them one of the most successful T20 franchises in the history of the sport, while Kohli remained trophyless while staying with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Speaking to Gaurav Kapur in a new Spotify Podcast, Raman recalled the inaugural auction saying that CSK had the advantage when came to bagging Dhoni as they were among the two franchises which did not have an icon player. He further revealed that icon players received 15 per cent more money than icon players.
"The only thing sure about the 2008 IPL was that the marquee players had to be assigned to their respective franchises. Sachin Tendulkar for Mumbai, Virender Sehwag for Delhi, Yuvraj Singh for Punjab, Sourav Ganguly for Kolkata. But MS Dhoni, who was at the peak of his stardom, was without a home," Raman said.
"So what did he do? He made Chennai his home. At the time, the icon player was not fixed a salary, and would be paid 15% more than the highest paid player on the team.
"Since CSK didn't have an icon player, they were a bit more free to bid for the player of their choice. So the Indian T20 captain went to Chennai."
Raman then recalled saying that Kohli was not the first player to be picked at the inaugural auction from the category of U-19 players.
"Interestingly, that was also the year India had won the U-19 World Cup, just a month before the auction. They were captained by Virat Kohli and we decided to keep a separate draft for the U-19 players a few days after the auction.
"Virat Kohli was not the first player to be picked in the draft. Delhi passed on him," Raman said.