English the flavour of the day

Stokes, Mills, Woakes strike it rich while the likes of Ishant and Irfan Pathan go unsold

English the flavour of the day

England players, led by star all-rounder Ben Stokes, hogged the limelight while Indian players received a somewhat lukewarm response from the franchises at the IPL-10 auction here on Monday.

Despite uncertainty over the availability of majority of the England players for the full duration of the IPL, franchises spent fortune over the likes of Stokes and fast bowler Tymal Mills while Chris Woakes went for a cool sum. Eoin Morgan and Jason Roy went for their respective base prices.

England are to host Ireland for two ODIs (May 5 & 7) and South Africa for three ODIs (May 24, 27 & 29) -- series considered to be the final preparatory exercise for the Champions Trophy in June and all these five players are likely to leave before the IPL ends.

Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) won an intense bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to pick up all-rounder Stokes for an eye-popping Rs 14.50 crore while Royal Challengers Bangalore grabbed left-arm fast pacer Mills for Rs 12 crore.

Woakes, a fast bowler who can use the long handle to good effect lower down the order, was purchased by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 4.2 crore -- a shade double than his base price -- while limited-overs skipper Morgan was bagged for Rs 2 crore. Roy, a smashing opening batsman, was purchased by Gujarat Lions for Rs 1 crore.

While the English players had a day to remember, it was a day to forget for India pacer Ishant Sharma and a host of others. Ishant, the senior most pacer in the Indian team now, was unveiled at a base price of Rs 2 crore and the high value didn’t evince any interest despite his name coming up twice.

Irfan Pathan too met the same fate. Despite having a much lower base price of Rs 50 lakh, the 32-year-old, who last played for the country four years ago, saw no takers.
Unmukt Chand, the captain of the Indian 2012 under-19 World Cup winning team, went unsold as did Mumbai teenager Prithvi Shaw.

It was not all gloom though for the Indian players as some uncapped cricketers like Tamil Nadu left-arm medium pacer T Natarajan, Karnataka off-spinner K Gowtham, Rajasthan left-arm medium pacer Aniket Choudhary and Hyderabad fast bowler Mohammed Siraj raked in the moolah.

Among Indian internationals, leggie Karn Sharma got the biggest price of 3.2 crore, from Mumbai.

Kings XI Punjab and RPS started off the battle to acquire Natarajan, one of the success stories in the Tamil Nadu Premier League held last year. RPS exited when Kings XI bid Rs 1.5 crore but SRH threw their hat into the ring raising it to Rs 1.6 crore. But, having seen something special in him, KXIP finally tapped him at Rs 3 crore.

Gowtham, who enjoyed a wonderful Ranji Trophy season on his comeback last year, saw Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians fight to acquire him. MI eventually bought him for a whopping Rs 2 crore -- 20 times his base price.

RCB and Gujarat Lions, who debuted last year and topped the table after the league phase, fought for the services of 27-year-old Choudhary, whose base price was set at the minimum Rs 10 lakh. Eventually, RCB acquired him for Rs 2 crore.

The 22-year-old Siraj, tipped to grab the eyeballs of buyers prior to the auction thanks to his impressive shows in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy and the just concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament had RCB and SRH showing plenty of interest in him. RCB pulled out when SRH quoted Rs 2.6 and the pacer went for that price.

It was also a fruitful day for India pacer Varun Aaron, who despite being out of the national reckoning, was lapped up for Rs 2.8 crore by KXIP.

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