India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the top draft in the Indian Premier League (IPL) draft as the Sanjeev Goenka-owned new Pune franchise picked him up ahead of others at the stipulated price of Rs 12.50 crore here today.
The other new team in the popular T20 cricket tournament, Rajkot, owned by Intex, picked up Dhoni's teammate in Chennai Super Kings (CSK), also for Rs. 12.5 crore, being the first player chosen by the franchise.
CSK and Rajasthan Royals have been banned from the IPL for two yars by the Justice R. M. Lodha panel, which probed the betting and spot-fixing allegations in the 2013 edition of the tournament.
The New Rising group owned by Goenka and mobile phone manufacturer Intex won the ownership rights for the new vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
New Rising has chosen Pune as its base, while Rajkot will be the home ground for the Intex-owned franchise. The two teams will replace CSK and Rajasthan Royals in the tournment.
Seven players of CSK and three from Rajasthan Royals were picked up by the two teams today.
Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja were the second choices for Pune and Rajkot, respectively. They will be entitled to a purse of Rs 9.5 crore per year.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was chosen by Pune as their third choice for a purse of Rs 7.5 crore, while New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was picked up by Rajkot.
Australians Steve Smith and James Faulkner were the fourth choices for Pune and Rajkot, respectively, at Rs 5.5 crore.
South African batsman Faf du Plessis was the fifth and final player chosen by Pune, while Dwayne Bravo of the West Indies was selected by Rajkot for Rs 4 crore each.
The pool of players in the draft included only the 50 players from the two suspended teams. The remaining players from the two teams will now form part of the general IPL auction scheduled for February.
Rahane, Faulkner and Smith had played for the Rajasthan Royals last year, while the remaining players picked up today had turned out for Chennai Super Kings.
Both teams spent Rs 39 crore each from their purse today and are now left with Rs 27 crore for the rest of their squads.
The 2016 season of vivo IPL will be played between April 9 and May 29. The franchise workshop will be conducted in Srinagar on January 13 and 14, 2016.