Rising Pune owner speaks about buying Murugan Ashwin and Pawan Negi's failed bid
There has been some light thrown on the huge price tag on Rising Pune Supergiants’ unheralded spinner Murugan Ashwin’s Rs. 4.5 crore price tag. Owner Sanjiv Goenka and MS Dhoni have offered some logic as to why they were willing to shell out so much money for someone who had not played a single T20 before 2016.
"Both the captain and coach (Stephen Fleming) wanted Murugan Ashwin. They were keen on him and they believe he has the potential to perform well in the long run," said Goenka.
Dhoni wanted Murugan Ashwin in the side because he had impressed while bowling in the nets during Chennai Super Kings’ practice sessions. CSK have always been a team who have relied heavily on their spin bowlers and their batsmen playing spin well, and so it can be assumed that Murugan was also an unacknowledged factor in their team’s continuing success over the years.
Dhoni also wanted Murugan because his team were in need of a leg spinner, which role he has been picked for. Dhoni also said that he was all for Indian players making money by playing the IPL, because many domestic players in the past have played out their heydays in obscurity, only for their careers to be seen in hindsight as unfulfilled promises.
Dhoni has always relied on his spinners, as CSK captain as well as India captain, and a look at the RPS roster shows why Dhoni was so desperate to have the second Ashwin in his team.
Negi’s failed bid, RPS’ dearth of spin options
Why Pune were so desperate for Murugan, and also Pawan Negi, is that despite having a rich batting order, their spin bowling department is not very well stocked. Apart from Ravi Ashwin, the only spinners they have are Murugan Ashwin, Baba Aparajith and Australian Adam Zampa.
Goenka also said that Dhoni had also been desperate for Pawan Negi’s signature, another spinner who Dhoni has played with for CSK. Delhi Daredevils beat Pune to Negi’s signature, however, with their Rs 8.5 crore bid making him the most expensive uncapped player.
Dhoni will have the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Faf du Plessis and Steve Smith in his side, along with his right-hand man for CSK and India, Ravichandran Ashwin. Goenka re-asserted that the leadership of his team would all be centred on Dhoni alone.
He said, "Fleming is an outstanding coach - combined with Dhoni, they are an outstanding combination and that gives us reason for confidence.
"As far as Pune is concerned, there is only one leader in the team and that is Dhoni."