"Chennai is a special place and that thought of being with any other franchise was never a question" - MS Dhoni. © BCCI

“Chennai is a special place and that thought of being with any other franchise was never a question” – MS Dhoni. © BCCI

MS Dhoni, one of the three players retained by Chennai Super Kings for the 11th edition of Indian Premier League, revealed on Friday (January 19) that the franchise would try to get R Ashwin on board in the mega auction slated to take place on January 27 and 28 in Bangalore.

Chennai, the two-time champions who are making a return to the IPL after serving a two-year ban, spent Rs 33 crore to retain Dhoni (Rs 15 cr), Suresh Raina (Rs 11 cr) and Ravindra Jadeja (Rs 7 cr) earlier this month.

Having already retained three Indian internationals, Chennai will not have the option of using a Right To Match (RTM) card for Ashwin.

“We will definitely go for him in the auction. He is a local lad. We want a lot of local players in CSK,” said Dhoni during a promotional event in Chennai. “With Ashwin we cannot use the RTM as we have already got three Indian players retained. We have to buy him in the auction. He will come first in the auction. But as I said, we will have to wait and watch. We will try to get him.”

Dhoni, who led Chennai in the first eight editions of the tournament, said that the team was also mindful of the need to use the two RTM cards judiciously. “We also have Brendon McCullum, Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo (former players),” he pointed out. “We have two RTMs. But we have to know when and where to use them.”

Talking about Chennai’s strategy for the auction, Dhoni said, “At an auction, we also have to look at how much money we can afford to go for each individual as we look to make a strong team. In the past, we have seen a lot of teams target former CSK players. We may have to keep the emotions aside, we may want somebody, but if his price goes outside our range, we have to let him go because we have to focus on making the complete side.

“That’s the adaptability factor we need to have at the auction table. As far as the team composition is concerned, we had three retainerships. We have retained a keeper, we have retained two batsmen and the same two batsmen can also bowl – one left-arm spinner and one offspinner. A lot of areas are covered when it comes to the top-order. We don’t need to go for more left-handers.”

Dhoni, who spent the last two season with Rising Pune Supergiant, disclosed that he was approached by several IPL franchises before the retention took place, but the former Indian captain said that he had no doubts over returning to his “second home”. “A lot of people approached me, I can tell you that. But, you know, I can’t think of not coming back to CSK,” said the 36 year old.

“And as I said, it is because of everything – what we been through, how we have conducted ourselves, how the management has been, how the players have been, how the fans have been. I always keep saying, you know, it is like a second home to me. The fans have over here have literally adopted me, they accept me as their own. There can’t be a bigger compliment than that. This is a special place and that thought of being with any other franchise was never a question. So that was a very easy answer for me.”