Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Does Dhoni's Stake in Rhiti Means Anything?

Mahi owns 15% stake in a Sports Management Firm. So what? The stake at first glance seems to be just a business investment (which unfortunately has the potential to be a business misadventure.)

Let me get this right.

The sequence seems thus. Rhiti takes on Dhoni's management for a considerable sum. Meaning it manages Dhoni's career, endorsements, public appearances, off cricket activities, etc. As any successful sports management firm will do - it has also signed on a few other promising cricketers like Suresh Raina, Ojha, R.P. Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, etc. Fine so far.

Dhoni - with money to invest - buys a stake in Rhiti. Its a minority stake. Just 15%. It means Dhoni doesnt take decisions. He just shares in the firm's bottomline. The only thing I can see here is Dhoni is backing himself. Make no mistake, any firm which has Dhoni's portfolio is going to be a huge success. So Dhoni backs himself to make the firm successful and buys a stake (I am sure as per the advise of his business advisers).

Now we come to the issue (non -issue) that the media is making out. Dhoni sits on the selection committee. So does that mean Mahendra Singh Dhoni will jeopardise the performance of the team by approving the selection of players that Rhiti has on board because Rhiti manages them? How will it help Dhoni? Will the 15% stake in Rhiti's profit be more than the endorsements that he will lose if the team loses? At last count Dhoni endorsed 22 firms. He is apparently more popular than Shahrukh Khan. Why? Because he is a winner. He gives his all for the team. He is dedicated, still simple and honest as per popular opinion. Will he risk all that to make Jadeja's or Raina's career. And Raina is not even in the test team. Suresh Raina despite his obvious talent has not recently been a part of the Indian team. The likes of Rahane, Murli Vijay, Pujara, Shikhar Dhawan got their chances - Raina didnt in the just concluded Test series against Australia. Apparently Raina has a shortcoming against the rising ball. That's funny - since most Indian players have that shortcoming. Remember Virender Sehwag?

Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev have all had majority stakes in Sports Management outfits. Has it never been in conflict with their other duties as selectors, mentors, coach, etc. So why Dhoni now? Dhoni being a VP at India Cements is being touted as a crime now. But isnt that Srinivasan's conflict? Dhoni is his Company's VP. He is the BCCI President. Does follow logically he will make Dhoni the Captain of India, right?

It seems its just the way of the media (and former cricketers) and people to bring down celebrities after hoisting them high on a pedestal. And Dhoni after being thrown really really high on to the ether world is finding the fall all the more harder. For nothing. Not on current evidence. But these stories will not go away unless Dhoni just decides to let his considerable income sit in a bank!