'Big Ben' stands tallest at IPL auctions; Indian newbies shine
England all-rounder Ben Stokes became the most expensive overseas buy ever, going to Rising Pune Supergiants for a whopping Rs 14.50 crore, even as some unheralded Indian domestic players trumped seasoned names to land lucrative deals at the IPL players' auction, here on Monday.
The second biggest buy at the auction on Monday was also an England player, left-arm fast bowler Tymal Mills, who was taken by Royal Challengers Bangalore for a mind-boggling Rs 12 crore.
Eight franchises collectively spent Rs 91.15 crore to buy 66 players from a pool of 350 plus that went under the hammer.
The accent was clearly on Indian players with as many as 39 of them bagging contracts while 27 overseas players came into the franchises' roster.
The uncapped Indian players had a field day too with little-known Tamil Nadu left-arm seamer T Natarajan going for Rs 3 crore (USD 448,000) to Kings XI Punjab, a 30-fold hike over his base price of Rs 10 lakh.
Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj got a deal of Rs 2.6 crore from his local franchise -- the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Rajasthan's left-arm pacer Aniket Chaudhary, who has been a net bowler with the Indian Test squad for some time, also bagged a cool Rs 2 crore (USD 298,000) deal from RCB.
Karnataka's young off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham got a Rs 2 crore (USD 298,000) winning bid from Mumbai Indians.
India discards Varun Aaron fetched INR 2.8 crore (USD 418,000) from Kings XI Punjab while leg-spinner Karn Sharma was bought for Rs 3.2 crore (USD 477,000) from Mumbai Indians.
For left-arm spinner Pawan Negi, it was another hefty pay day as he bagged a Rs one crore deal from RCB starting at a base price of Rs 30 lakh.
The prominent international players, who failed to find takers, was South African spinner Imran Tahir, currently ranked No.1 in the ICC list for ODI and T20 bowlers.
The day certainly turned out to be a good one for the England players with Stokes hogging the limelight but Mills wasn't far behind either.
Both Stokes and Mills entered the million-dollar bracket with the former fetching USD 2.16 million and the latter going for USD 1.8 million.
Even Chris Woakes, with Rs 4.2 crore (USD 627,000) deal from KKR, had a good day.
Pune owner Sanjeev Goenka made it clear that they knew Stokes would go for a big price and they are also prepared for the fact that he will not be available to play the full tournament.
"We knew he was going to be expensive. We do believe he is going to be there for the first 14 games and right now we are focussing on first 14, and we are very happy with this. We pretty much knew, we are not going to get him below this price," Goenka told reporters here.
Goenka's Pune Supergiants, which on Sunday removed Mahendra Singh Dhoni from captaincy, entered late into the bidding at Rs 13 crore and clinched the deal at Rs 14.50 crore defeating bids from Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
With capable seam bowling all-rounders coming at a premium, Stokes was in the wish-list of five franchises, who engaged in tough bidding for the player, who is now revered as the world's top all-rounder.
The 25-year-old, who hasn't played franchise cricket till date, has a career strike rate of 134 plus while batting and a moderate bowling economy rate of 8.60 in 77 matches.
Mills, on the other hand, has played 55 Twenty20 matches, fetching 63 wickets with a reasonably good economy rate of 7.47.
Among notable international players, New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson and Sri Lankan Test captain Angelo Mathews were picked up by Delhi Daredevils at their base price of Rs 1 Crore (USD 150,000)and Rs 2 crore (USD 300,000) respectively. Daredevils also bought South African paceman Kagiso Rabada for Rs 5 crore after some bidding. New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult was picked by KKR at (USD 750,000).