Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni will turn opponents in ISL © PTI
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni will turn opponents in ISL © IANS

MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, the captain and vice-captain of the Indian national team, will lock horns against each other — albeit off the field — in the Indian Super  League (ISL). Tulika Bhattacharya explains why this may not be just another football match.

It is not just in Indian Premier League (IPL) anymore, where teammates of national teams play against each other. The ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) has the Indian cricket captain and the vice captain pitted against each other.

Chennaiyin Football Club (Chennai FC), the franchise Dhoni co-owns with  Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan, is set to play against Football Clube Goa (FC Goa), one of whose owners is Kohli, in the much-hyped ISL at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda in Goa Wednesday night.

With the likes of former French star Robert Pires and Gregory Arnolin, Youness Bengelloun, Czech Republic’s Jan Seda and Miroslav Slepicka, Andre Santos of Brazil, and the Portuguese trio of Miguel Pereira, Bruno Pinheiro, and Edgar Marcelino alongside the Indian talent which comprises of Rowilson Rodrigues, Holicharan Narzary, Peter Carvalho, Narayan Das, Alwyn George and many more, FC Goa looks good ahead of their encounter with the Chennai FC.

The Chennai team also has an exciting list of players with former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre, Colombian striker John Stiven Mendoza and Jairo Carvajal, Brazilian Elano Blumer, French players Gennaro Bracigliano and Bernard Mendy, Spaniards Eduardo Silva and Cristian Gonzales, Serbia’s Bojan Djordjic. Among domestic players, Chennaiyin FC boasts of Gouramangi Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Harmanjot Khabra, Denson Devadas, Khelemba Meetei, N P Pradeep, among the others. It would be interesting to see which star cricketer’s team triumphs over the other. The eight-team franchise league, modelled along the lines of the IPL and Major League Soccer in United States of America (USA), kick-started on October 12, 2014.

(Tulika Bhattacharya is a budding cricket journalist. She can be followed on Twitter here)