India off-spinner R Ashwin is likely to return to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the upcoming 11th edition of Indian Premier League (IPL), starting April 2018.
The core units of all eight IPL franchises for season 11 is set to be confirmed as the list of retained players will be officially announced on Thursday, January 4.
Ever since the retention guidelines were confirmed during an IPL Governing Council (GC) meeting in December 2017, a lot of the spotlight has been on CSK as the two-time champions are set to return after the end of their two-year suspension.
Who will CSK retain?
With teams eligible to secure up to five players -- through pre-auction retentions and Right to Match (RTM) cards during the auction -- it was evident that the two-time champions would not miss out on the opportunity to bring former captain MS Dhoni back to the Southern Indian city.
However, there was uncertainty over CSK's other retention choices as they had a star-studded line-up to choose from. Notably, it was announced that CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) will be able to retain players from their 2015 squad, who had also featured for now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions.
It has now emerged that the Chennai-based franchise will retain Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja ahead of the auction. West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, if fit, is all but confirmed to be secured using RTM, according to Press Trust of India.
What is Ashwin's future with CSK?
Meanwhile, a source close to developments told International Business Times, India, that the Chennai-based club might consider securing the services of Ashwin during the auction using RTM option. However, he maintained that there will be a lot of changes until the retentions are announced officially.
Ashwin had played a crucial part in CSK's title-winning runs in 2010 and 2011. The Tamil Nadu off-spinner, known for his shrewd cricketing brain, remained MS Dhoni's go-to-man even during RPS' IPL debut in 2016.
However, the 31-year-old has struggled in the limited-over formats at the international level. Finger spinners Ashwin and Jadeja have not played for the Men in Blue since the West Indies tour in July 2017.
The Indian team management and the selection committee's decision to pick wrist-spinner for limited-over formats has worked wonders as Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, who have replaced the senior spin twins, have been single-handedly winning matches for the team.