IPL auction 2018 highlights: Ben Stokes best at 12.5 Cr; Krunal Pandya, Rashid Khan big buys | cricket | Hindustan Times
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IPL auction 2018 highlights: Ben Stokes best at 12.5 Cr; Krunal Pandya, Rashid Khan big buys

Ben Stokes got 12.5 Crore from Rajasthan Royals but Mumbai Indians spent big on Krunal Pandya as did Sunrisers Hyderabad on Afghan spinner Rashid Khan.

cricket Updated: Jan 27, 2018 17:47 IST
N. Ananthanarayanan
Ben Stokes, who turned out for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017, has been bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.5 crore at the IPL auction 2018  in Bangalore on Saturday.
Ben Stokes, who turned out for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017, has been bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.5 crore at the IPL auction 2018 in Bangalore on Saturday. (BCCI)

Big guns boomed early in the Indian Premier League 2018 auction on Saturday with unsettled England all-rounder Ben Stokes snapped up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.5 crore and R Ashwin going to Kings XI Punjab for Rs 7.6 crore. (LIVE UPDATES OF IPL AUCTION 2018)

IPL auction 2018 - Purse left after Round 4. (HT Photo)

Kolkata Knight Riders paid Rs 9.4 crore for Mitchell Starc, after the Australia pace spearhead had pulled out of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s IPL 2017 campaign due to ankle injury.

Two Karnataka batsmen rocked the auction soon after, breaching the Rs 10 crore mark.

IPL auction 2018 purse after Round 3. (HT Photo)

India opener KL Rahul went to Kings XI Punjab for Rs 11 crore from a base price of Rs 2 crore, impressive after the player was not retained, or bought back, by Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore. His Karnataka teammate Manish Pandey got a matching Rs 11 crore, this time Sunrisers Hyderabad out-bidding KXIP.

Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep make hay

India players had a field day. Limited-overs spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal (Rs 6 crore – RCB) and Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav (Rs 5.8 crore – KKR) were retained by their teams using the RTM card.

But it was Afghanistan’s 19-year-old leg-spinner, who was the most expensive spinner – retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad for a whopping Rs 9 crore after feverish bidding by RCB and KXIP.

India’s wicketkeeper-batsmen too were in demand. Sanju Samson attracted a Rs 8 crore bid from his former team Rajasthan Royals to top the grouping, while Dinesh Karthik (Rs 7.4 crore – KKR), Robin Uthappa (Rs 6.4 crore – RTM by KKR) and Wriddhiman Saha (Rs 5 crore – SRH) all received excellent bids.

India pacer Umesh Yadav switched from KKR to RCB for Rs 4.2 crore while Delhi Daredevils matched the Rs 3 crore bid for Mohammed Shami to retain him.

Aaron Finch for KXIP

Kings XI were aggressive early on, and also bought in-form Australia opener, Aaron Finch for Rs 6.2 crore. Chris Lynn, another Aussie batsman famous for his sensational catch to dismiss RCB’s AB de Villiers in IPL 2014, went to the Kolkata outfit for a solid Rs 9.6 crore.

R Ashwin made the first big splash after twice champions Chennai Super Kings dropped out at Rs 4.4 crore. The off-spinner figured prominently in both their victories and played for Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016 when CSK were serving a two-year ban. Ashwin kept out of the league last year.

IPL auction 2018 - Purse available after round 2. (HT Photo)

Ignored by the India selectors for the limited-overs sides, it was a vote of confidence by the Priety Zinta co-owned KXIP, which won a race with Rajasthan Royals. He could even be in contention for captaincy.

The MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, however, picked up a seasoned off-spin option with a smart buy, getting Harbhajan Singh for his base price of Rs 2 crore after Mumbai Indians didn’t push to buy him back. They also bought spinners Karn Sharma (Rs 5 crore) and Imran Tahir (Rs 1 crore).

CSK clearly made the smartest buy in the first session of the auctions. They used the RTM to get Caribbean all-rounder Dwayne Bravo after Kings XI Punjab had bid Rs 6.4 crore while also buying back South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis, for Rs 1.6 crore.

Ben Stokes has been roped in by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore. Stokes’ availability in IPL 2018 is still not clear due to his involvement in a public brawl in September 2017. (AFP)

Mumbai Indians shelled out Rs 8.8 crore to buy back all-rounder Krunal Pandya and keep out RCB’s bid. It means he will play alongside his brother Hardik, the India all-rounder.

Ben Stokes to Rajasthan Royals

England all-rounder Ben Stokes went to 2008 champions Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.5 crore. The player, caught in a case following a brawl outside a Bristol pub last September, was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant for Rs 14.5 crore in 2017 and helped them reach the final. But he will continue to play under Australia skipper Steve Smith, who led RPS in the last two years.

India opener Shikhar Dhawan was bought back by 2016 champions Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 5.2 crore using the Right-to-Match option. Kings XI aggressively bid for the first player to go under the hammer. Champions Mumbai Indians briefly entered the fray, raising hopes Dhawan will get to open with Rohit Sharma at IPL too. He will now be reunited with David Warner for the 2016 champions.

IPL auction 2018 - Purse left after Round 1. (HT Photo)

Jamaican enforcer Chris Gayle (base price Rs 2 crore) went unsold. The Royal Challengers Bangalore player is still the best known face in T20 competitions around the globe but has been a waning force at 38. He struggled with fitness as RCB slid to last in IPL 2017.

Reality bit England Test skipper Joe Root too, who went unsold at his base price Rs 1.5 crore.

Mumbai Indians too used their RTM card to buy back Kieron Pollard, after Delhi Daredevils bid Rs 5.4 crore for the Trinidadian all-rounder, one of their most consistent performers for MI. They already have retained skipper Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah.

Ajinkya Rahane went to Rajasthan Royals, who used their Right-to-Match card to get him for Rs 4 crore.

Gautam Gambhir to Delhi Daredevils

Gautam Gambhir returned home after he was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 2.8 crore. The batsman, who led Kolkata Knight Riders to both their titles in a seven-year stay, was not retained by the team. The 36-year-old local star could be in the running to lead DD.

Daredevils, desperate to lift their IPL performances, splurged Rs 9 crore to buy Aussie T20 specialist Glenn Maxwell, who played for KXIP last year.

India’s ICC U-19 World Cup skipper Prithvi Shaw (Rs 1.2 crore – DD) and teammates Shubman Gill (Rs 1.8 crore – KKR) and fast bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti (Rs 3.2 crore – KKR) all attracted good bids.