Kolkata Knight Riders:
KKR lifted the IPL trophy twice (2012 and 2014) under Gautam Gambhir's captaincy but the Kolkata-based franchise's performance hasn't been that impressive ever since. The team has always had a balanced side but they never succeeded in performing as a unit and lacked an inspirational leader whom the players can look up to.
Dinesh Karthik has done a decent job in his first season (IPL 2018) as the KKR skipper but in the following season reports of internal bickering cropped up and the team didn't do well.
In Dhoni, they would find a leader who can keep things under control and champion the side. Also back in 2017, KKR co-owner Shah Rukh Khan claimed that he is ready to sell off everything to make the former India skipper a part of his team.
"Yaar main toh usko apna Pyjama bech ke bhi kharid lun, wo aaye toh auction mein (I'm ready to sell my pyjama for buying MS Dhoni but that can happen only when he is available for auction right?)," Shahrukh Khan was quoted by Sporstwallah in an interview.
The Hyderabad based franchise were the finalists in the IPL 2018 and they almost replicated their success in the next season but lacked an able leader in the absence of Kane Williamson and David Warner.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar captained the side in a few games but he wasn't that effective and his inexperience in captaincy hurt the team. David Warner has led them to an IPL title in 2016 but hasn't captained the team since 2017.
Also, since most of the players will go into the pool next season the franchise may not be able to retain both Warner and Williamson.
The franchise might look to go for an Indian player who can lead the side by making the best use of the foreign players and preparing a team for the future. And what better name than Dhoni for his job.
Kings XI Punjab
The KXIP is known for making big buys and engaging into bidding wars to bag a player during the auctions. And there isn't an iota of doubt that the franchise would indulge into a bidding war when Dhoni's name comes up for the auction.
Kings XI Punjab made good buys in the last three-four seasons but always lacked a captain who could string the side together. So when the teams for IPL 2021 season gets picked up, KXIP might start of thinking to build the team from the scratch and do it by picking up an inspirational captain like MS Dhoni.
The Jaipur-based franchise has appointed Australia swashbuckler Steve Smith as their captain for the next season but if that move doesn't pay off they would be looking to grab Dhoni for IPL 2021.
MS Dhoni's best quality has been the way he's utilised the domestic players to perfection and Royals' think tank has also invested in the domestic players and local talents.
Dhoni is hailed as one of those captains who infuses life in the dressing room with his Midas touch and brings out the best out of players.
Like Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals have also shown a lot of faith in the young talents over the years but the team lacked a captaincy material until the reigns were handed over to young and dynamic Shreyas Iyer midway IPL 2018.
The team has made wonders ever since but as most of the players would go into the pool post-IPL 2020 it will challenging for the franchise to retain all their key players.
If they fail to retain Iyer post-2020, then coach Ricky Ponting might look to get someone like Dhoni on board for the sake of preparing a team for the future and nurturing the young talents.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The RCB has never won an IPL title and would be hoping for a change in fortune in IPL 2020 under the leadership of Virat Kohli. However, if they fail to get a desirable result next year then who knows they might even let Virat Kohli go.
In such a scenario, the Bangalore-based franchise might even look to bid for Dhoni as a leader of the pack for the next season and help them prepare a team for the future.
They could also rope in Dhoni to help Kohli in the field and dressing room, something that the Ranchi cricketer did in the national side after stepping down as the captain.
Also, when Dhoni retires from cricket he would be an ideal candidate to mentor the side in the coming seasons and such prospects would certainly lure the franchise to go after the veteran cricketer during the auction.