MS Dhoni to play in CSA T20 League? Speculations arise after CSK buy franchise in South African league
The owners of IPL heavyweights Chennai Super Kings have purchased the Johannesburg team, which has given rise to speculation if CSK skipper MS Dhoni will play in the South African T20 League.
Indian Premier League team owners have bought all six franchises of South Africa's new domestic T20 league, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said on Wednesday, underlining IPL's expanding global footprint.
Notably, the owners of IPL heavyweights Chennai Super Kings have purchased the Johannesburg team, which has given rise to speculation if CSK skipper MS Dhoni will play in the South African T20 League.
Interestingly, Dhoni has been an integral part of CSK since the inception of the IPL. Under his captaincy, CSK won the 2010, 2011, 2018 and the 2021 Indian Premier League titles and the 2010 and 2014 Champions League T20 titles and ended up as a runner-up in the 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2019 league seasons.
It is worth mentioning that, Dhoni was contracted by CSK for US$1.5 million. This made him the most expensive player in the IPL for the first season auctions. The wicket keeper-batter is also the first player to play 200 T20 matches for CSK.
Given how important Dhoni has been to CSK, fans are wondering if the former India captain will once again play a key role for the owners of the franchise by being part of their new venture.
Meanwhile, Reliance Industries Limited, which owns IPL's most successful team Mumbai Indians, bought the Newlands franchise of the league which is scheduled to get underway in January next year.
JSW Sports, which owns Delhi Capitals, bagged Pretoria, while the owners of IPL's Lucknow Super Giants, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Rajasthan Royals successfully bid for the Durban, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), and Paarl franchises respectively.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) July 7, 2022
"This is truly an exciting time for South African cricket; the overwhelming interest shows that the country remains valued in the global cricketing eco-system," league commissioner Graeme Smith said in a statement.
"The strong sports background of the respective owners and the global brands they manage ensures that South African cricket and the broader industry will benefit from their expertise and resources, as they bring stability and experience to the league."
"We have already contracted a number of leading international players who will be announced shortly," added the former South Africa captain.
Three IPL franchise owners - of Kolkata, Rajasthan, and Punjab - also own teams in the Caribbean Premier League.
The Kolkata franchise is also involved in the franchise-based Major League Cricket in the United States. NBA player Chris Paul and NFL duo Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Beachum invested in the Rajasthan franchise earlier this year.
IPL's media rights for the next five years sold for a staggering $6.2 billion last month.