R Ashwin
File photo of R Ashwin (L) and MS Dhoni.Roger Sedres/AFP/Getty Images

Former India captain Anil Kumble has said that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will not be able to get R Ashwin at the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) auction unless they are willing to splash out on the off-spinner.

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Kumble said Ashwin "is a captain material" and pointed out that franchises that haven't retained a skipper yet will aggressively go after the Tamil Nadu cricketer at the auction.

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Ashwin was not retained by CSK as the two-time champions secured the services of MS Dhoni (Rs 15 crore), Suresh Raina (Rs 11 crore) and Ravindra Jadeja (Rs 7 crore) earlier this month.

Nonetheless, Dhoni, while speaking at a promotional event last week in Chennai, said the team would bid for "local lad" Ashwin at the auction. However, the CSK captain acknowledged that other franchises will go after the team's former players at the much-anticipated auction.

Dhoni also pointed out that they don't have the option of using one of their two Right-To-Match (RTM) cards on Ashwin as they have already retained three capped Indian players.

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"Chennai would be looking at him [Ashwin] as a spinner to backup Ravindra Jadeja, whom they have already retained. The will have to look at Ashwin as the second spinner. If that is the case, I don't see them going beyond Rs 4 crore or Rs 5 crore. And I don't think you will get someone like Ashwin for that amount," Kumble said during Star Sports' analysis show "Game Plan - The Marquee List".

"He is a captain material. There are franchises which needed a captain. He is an Indian marquee player. Yes, Chennai would want their local hero to be part of Super Kings, But you never you, he might end up playing for them," the legendary leg-spinner added.

Notably, Ashwin is part of 16 marquee players, according to the auction pool announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday, January 21. The 31-year-old has set his base price at Rs 2 crore, the highest price band for the upcoming auction.