Dhoni speaks out, but will CSK bring back Ashwin?

As the IPL auction looms around the corner, one question remains unanswered: Will the Chennai Super Kings bring back ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin have played together over the last 10 editions of the IPL, eight seasons at Chennai Super King and the last two seasons at Rising Pune Supergiant.   -  K. R. Deepak

Will Chennai Super Kings bring back Ravichandran Ashwin? As the franchises gear up for the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction next week, this seems to be the big question doing the rounds.

When the franchise decided to retain three of its old warhorses — Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja — the choice did come as a surprise to many. The fact that the franchise let go its home boy — who has been one of its mainstays in the previous editions — too raised a few eyebrows.

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On Friday, when captain Dhoni took the stage to endorse India Cements’ ‘Veedu Kattu Whistle Podu' consumer offer campaign, the scribes wanted to know if the franchise would actually go for the ace spinner in the auction.

In his usual style, Dhoni said they would. But then, he also added that it is important for the fans not to get emotional with the decision.

“It is always a tough call. With Ashwin, we had done a similar thing in the past. We will go for him in the auction but as I said, it’s not only him, there are other players that you would also want. With Ashwin coming in you would want a local lad in the side,” Dhoni said.

But then, there are other plans as well. “There is some one like Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum. We have two Right to Match, but it is about when and where we can use,” Dhoni added.

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However, the franchise will not be able to use the Right to Match card for Ashwin since it has already retained three Indian players. “With Ashwin, we can’t use an RTM because we have already retained three Indians so we will have to buy him out at the auctions. So, these are the things that make it difficult. We don’t know what margins to go for or what are the extremities. And there is no fixed price for someone. You look at the other players that we have got and then we can go for someone else because it gives the stability to the side,” he said.

“For somebody else, he may not be (some X player) worth the same, but for your team because of all the other players, he may be the key. That one person really strengthens the side. A lot of that will depend on the players we have got,” he said.

But the captain maintained the suspense, saying that they will have to wait and watch. “Ashwin will come first in the auction but as I said I have to wait and watch. I can’t put any number to it but we will try to get him for the reasons I have said but at an auction, it’s the price that dictates the terms. How much money we can afford to go for each individual and still make a strong team will be the key,” Dhoni said.

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Even though the erstwhile India skipper got candid with his answers, the questions of will Ashwin or won’t Ashwin remain.