New Delhi: Speculation is high that Indian Premier League's (IPL) new franchise Pune, which has an advantage of picking the first player in Players' draft, might choose India's limited-overs and Chennai Super Kings skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
However, considering the fact that Dhoni has somewhat lost his 'midas touch' in the recent past and other players in the draft are equally talented in the slam-bang version could mean a surprise may be in the offing.
It's not just the form and reflexes of ageing Dhoni which might go against the most successful IPL skipper, but the form of other proven players from the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals players, who would be up for grabs alongside the 34-year-old.
Rajkot and Pune, the two new franchises, have options of picking from a talented pool of cricketers like Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Steve Smith, Shane Watson, Ravindra Jadeja. So these players might give the Dhoni a run for their money in the much-awaited draft, which is to be held on December 15 at Mumbai Cricket Association's clubhouse.
The way Ashwin has proved himself in all formats of the game since the start of the year, might prove a good enough reason for the franchises to pick him over Dhoni.
Name of Australian Test skipper Steve Smith, who is a match-winner, might also be high on the minds of franchise owners, who have a minimum of Rs 40 crore and a maximum of Rs 66 crore to buy players.