BENGALURU: Many Indian Premier League dreams took flight and a few were crushed as a virtual conveyor belt of 110 established stars and littleknown players went under the hammer on Saturday, the opening day of the two-day IPL mega auction.
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Like last year, England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who went for Rs. 14.5 crore in 2017, hit paydirt as Rajasthan Royals snapped him up for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore, making him the most expensive buy of the day and most likely of the auction. A pending case against him made no difference to the Englishman’s market value as Chennai Super Kings made the first charge followed by Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders before Rajasthan Royals jumped into the bidding war at the Rs 12-crore mark.
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Asked about the availability of Stokes, Ranjit Barthakur, chairman and CEO of Royals, said, “As far as we are concerned, the ECB has cleared him for auction; he’s legally available, therefore we’ve bid for him. He’s a very important part. We’re trying to build the team and an all-rounder is absolutely important.”
Stokes was followed by KL Rahul and Manish Pandey. The batting talents from Karnataka commanded a mind-boggling Rs 11 crore each which Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad paid with glee. Mitchell Starc (KKR, Rs 9.40cr), Rashid Khan (SRH; Rs 9cr) and R Ashwin (KXIP; Rs. 7.60cr) were the top bowlers to earn the mega bucks.
UNCAPPED PLAYERS CALL THE SHOTS
As many as 40 uncapped cricketers from India and abroad were paraded. Of them, 19 hit the jackpot, with the price soaring beyond the Rs 1-crore mark. Krunal Pandya (base price Rs 40 lakh) was the biggest gainer among them, taking home a cool Rs 8.8 cr from his home team Mumbai Indians who exercised the RTM privilege even as teams like Bangalore, Royals and Hyderabad engaged in a bidding war for the all-rounder. Even as RCB sealed the deal, Mumbai owners pulled out the RTM card.
Jofra Archer, the 22-year-old medium-pacer from West Indies was the other big gainer on the day as Royals snapped him up for Rs 7.20 crore. Another overseas uncapped crorepati was D’Arcy Short, the 27-year-old lefthanded batsman-spinner from Australia also going to Royals. Both players have had a golden run at the ongoing Australian Big Bash League.
U-19 stars Kamlesh Nagarkoti (Rs 3.2 crore), Shubman Gill (Rs. 1.8 cr), Prithvi Shaw (Rs. 1.2 cr) too joined the elite crorepati club.
SOME STARS GET COLD SHOULDER
Franchises went mostly on current form and youth rather than reputation and experience. The price tags of some of the old warhorses is a case in point. Yuvraj Singh, who was the highest-paid player of 2014 and 2015, went for his base price of Rs 2 cr to Kings XI Punjab, while Chennai, who went for tried and tested players, were the sole bidders for Harbhajan Singh (Rs 2 cr). The franchises were not overenthusiastic when Gautam Gambhir‘s name was called out and Delhi Daredevils welcomed him back for Rs 2.80 crore (base price Rs 2 crore).
GAYLE GOES UNSOLD
Meanwhile, explosive West Indies batsman Chris Gayle found no takers. Even RCB didn’t look interested.
MOST EXPENSIVE UNCAPPED PLAYERS
Krunal Pandya (Rs 8.8 cr, MI – RTM; Base price Rs 40 lakh), Jofra Archer (Rs 7.2 cr, RR; BP Rs 40 lakh), Ishan Kishan (Rs 6.2 cr, MI; BP: Rs 40 lakh), D’Arcy Short (Rs 4 cr, RR; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Deepak Hooda (Rs 3.6 cr, SRH – RTM; BP: Rs 40 lakh), Siddharth Kaul (Rs 3.8 cr, SRH; BP: Rs 30 lakh), Nitish Rana (Rs 3.4 cr, KKR; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Rahul Tripathi (Rs 3.4 cr, RR; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Kamlesh Nagarkoti (Rs 3.2 cr, KKR; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Vijay Shankar (Rs 3.2 cr, DD; BP: Rs 40 lakh), Suryakumar Yadav (Rs 3.2 cr, MI; BP: Rs 30 lakh), Ankit Rajpoot (Rs 3 cr, KXIP; BP:Rs 30 lakh), Navdeep Saini (Rs 3 cr, RCB; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Khaleel Ahmed (Rs 3 cr, SRH; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Rahul Tewatia (Rs 3 cr, DD; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Shubman Gill (Rs 1.8 cr, KKR; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Prithvi Shaw (Rs 1.2 cr, DD; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Manan Vohra (Rs 1.1 cr, RCB; BP: Rs 20 lakh), Mayank Agarwal (Rs 1 cr, KXIP; BP: Rs 20 lakh).
Source : timesofindia