Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
MS Dhoni has admitted that the Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption scandal in 2013 hurt the Chennai Super Kings franchise.
The Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were banned from the IPL for two years in 2015 after Super Kings official Gurunath Meiyappan and Royals co-owner Raj Kundra brought “disrepute” to the game through their illegal betting activities. Both Meiyappan and Kundra were banned for life.
While Dhoni conceded that the two-year ban marked a sad chapter in the franchise’s history, he made it clear that the Super Kings’ fan base has become stronger than ever since the team will return in this year’s IPL.
“The last two years that we have not played, our fan following got stronger and stronger because none of the players were involved with anything,” Dhoni was quoted as saying by The Statesman. “Yes, often when there is some mistake committed, people bear the brunt. The team had to bear the brunt of whatever happened but the players were cleared of all the controversies.
“We are back to cricket and the fact that we sold off everything (whatever the endorsement brackets were there) even before the retainership was announced….that proves that they believe in CSK as a franchise and the kind of cricket we play. So it (IPL controversy) has not affected us in any way. Yes, it did hurt us because we were not part of IPL for two seasons.”
During the two years the Super Kings were suspended, Dhoni captained the Rising Pune Supergiants. However, the Ranchi native revealed that he received numerous offers from other franchises.
“A lot of people approached me,” he said. “I can’t think of not coming back to CSK. As I said, it’s because of everything that we have been through, how we have conducted ourselves, how the management, players and fans have been. It is a second home to me.
“The fans over here have adopted me. They accept me as one of their own. There can’t be any bigger compliment than that. This is a special place and the thought of being with any other franchise was never a question.”