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Ben Stokes becomes costliest foreign IPL player ever; 66 players sold for Rs 91.15 cr
MUMBAI: At a whopping Rs 14.5 crore, English all-rounder Ben Stokes has become the most expensive foreign player in an Indian Premier League (IPL). He was bought by Rising Pune Supergiants even though he is not available for the entire tournament.
Royal Challengers Bangalore was not far behind and paid Rs 12 crore to buy England fast bowler Tymal Mills.
Another piece of history was created when players from Afghanistan were listed for the auctions for the first time. Rashid Khan, 18, fetched Rs 4 crore as the IPL teams pitched in hard for the Afghan leg-spinner with Sunrisers Hyderabad being the eventual winners.
Incidentally, Stokes beat Australian all-rounder Shane Watson to be the highest paid international player. Watson had got sold for Rs 9.5 crore to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2016’s IPL player auction.
Karn Sharma was the highest paid Indian to be sold for Rs 3.2 crore. Indian left-arm medium fast bowler T Natarajan was bought for 30 times his base price, attracting Rs 3 crore. Other Indian youngsters who got sold for decent price were Varun Aaron (Rs 2.8 cr), Mohammed Siraj (Rs 2.6 crore), Aniket Choudhry (Rs 2 cr) and M Ashwin (Rs 1 cr).
The lone UAE cricketer, Chirag Suri, was bought by the Gujarat Lions.
The IPL player auction this year saw the teams spend a smaller amount of Rs 91.15 crore. In last year’s auction, the franchises spent a total of Rs 135.9 crore.
A total of 66 players, including 27 overseas players, were sold. New franchise Rising Pune Supergiants gifted Stokes the money.
Gujarat Lions CEO Arvinder Singh said that the team knew its weaknesses and made buys accordingly. They paid the most for Jason Roy.
Kings XI Punjab promoter Mohit Burman said that, with the new administration, things got delayed but now everybody is preparing for the event. “It would have been better had the auction taken place a month earlier,” he said.
Burman also noted that the market is cautious owing to the government’s demonetisation move in November. However, he added that the franchises will get sponsors due to the saleability of the IPL.
Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan and Imran Tahir were among those that did not find a buyer.
Among the IPL franchises, Sanjiv Goenka’s Rising Pune Supergiants topped the list with a purchase bill of Rs 17.20 crore on 20 February. The team bought nine players and has a balance purse of Rs 3 million to spend on buying players.
Royal Challengers Bangalore spent Rs 15.40 crore to be second in the list, followed by Kolkata Knight Riders.
Kings XI Punjab spent less than 80% of their total purse available but made strategic additions to the team at the auctions today. Strengthening the squad’s batting line, Kings XI Punjab welcomed Eoin Morgan, Rahul Tewatia, Martin Guptill and Rinku Singh to the team. Meanwhile, additions like Matt Henry, T Natarajan and Varun Aaron will further solidify the bowling length of the team along with all-rounder Darren Sammy.
These players will be joining the Kings XI Punjab squad that currently comprises Anureet Singh, Armaan Jaffer, Axar Patel, David Miller, Glenn Maxwell, Mohit Sharma, Murali Vijay, Nikhil Naik, Pardeep Sahu, Sandeep Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Marcus Stoinis, Manan Vohra, KC Cariappa, Wridhhiman Saha, Hashim Amla, Shaun Marsh, Swapnil Singh and Gurkeerat S Mann.
Commenting on the new team, the promoters of Kings XI Punjab said, “We are pleased that we were able to fill out the gaps in the line-up to create an exceptional team this year. We are confident that each player will add immense value to the team and contribute to elevating the level of the game. We welcome them on board and look forward to providing our fans with match-winning performances in the season ahead.”
Kings XI Punjab director of cricket operations Virender Sehwag, CEO Satish Menon and COO Rajeev Khanna, along with the management, were present at the venue.
While Sehwag continues to mentor the squad, he will also be heading cricket operations and strategy for the franchise.
The eight IPL franchises had Rs 148.33 crore to spend in the auction. But they spent less than two-thirds of their available budget. Five of the eight teams bought less players than they could. Indicating a cautious approach to spending, 65% of the players were purchased at their reserve prices.