Dhoni for Pune, Raina in team Rajkot for IPL 9 

Mumbai, Dec 15 (IANS) India’s limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the top draw in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 draft here on Tuesday and was picked up by the Sanjeev Goenka-owned Pune franchise at the stipulated price of Rs.12.5 crore.

Left-hand batsman Suresh Raina was picked up by the Rajkot franchise owned by Intex Mobiles. The Rajkot team also successfully bid for ‘home’ all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (Rs.9.5 crore), New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum (Rs.7.5 crore) and Australian all-rounder James Faulkner (Rs.5.5 crore) and West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

The ninth season of IPL will begin on April 9, 2016. The two new IPL franchises were allowed to select up to five cricketers each from the draft.

It will be the first time that Dhoni and Raina will not turn out for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) were suspended for two years on the recommendation of the Supreme Court-appointed Justice (retd) R.M. Lodha Committee, which decided the quantum of punishment following the two teams’ convictions.

It paved the way for Rajot and Pune franchises to join the IPL.

“Excited to play for the beautiful vibrant city- Rajkot in @IPL. Looking forward to have new teammates and support from the people of Gujarat,” Raina tweeted on Tuesday after the draft.

Pune opted to take right-hand batsman Ajinkya Rahane as their second choice player and his India teammate off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as the third preference.

Australia captain Steven Smith was the fourth choice for team Pune and South African batsman Faf du Plessis was the next choice.

Players of Super Kings and Royals were only included in the draft. The cricketers not picked on Tuesday will be up for a general auction to be held on February 6, 2016.

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