Stokes, Mills break records

Karnataka off-spinner K Gowtham goes to Mumbai for Rs 2 cr

Stokes, Mills break records

Star England all-rounder Ben Stokes shone the brightest at the IPL-10 auction here on Monday, emerging the most expensive overseas buy in the tournament.

The strapping Stokes, one of England’s key players across all formats, was picked by Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) for a whopping Rs 14.5 crore following an intense bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).

Stokes’ teammate Tymal Mills also attracted a huge price with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) filling the vacuum caused by the sudden departure of Mitchell Starc by acquiring the express left-armer for Rs 12 crore. “It was a very conscious strategy to go for Ben Stokes,” said RPS CEO Sanjiv Goenka. “He’s a complete player. He completes our squad. We have been lacking this one genre of player in our team. We have many heroes but this is the one hero we were lacking.”

Unlike the main auction where franchises have a huge cash pile and are ready to loosen their strings for a couple of ‘A-plus’ players, the latest edition was a subdued affair with teams merely interested in papering over minor cracks as they retained the core of their squad.

Barring Stokes and Mills, Trent Boult and Chris Woakes (Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 5 crore and Rs 4.2 crore, respectively), Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins (Delhi Daredevils for Rs 5 crore and Rs 4.5 crore, respectively) were the clutch of overseas players who commanded more than their base sums.

Among Indians, leg-spinner Karn Sharma (Mumbai Indians, Rs 3.2 crore), Tamil Nadu left-arm medium pacer T Natarajan (Kings XI Punjab, Rs 3 crore), Karnataka off-spinner K Gowtham (MI, Rs 2 crore), Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan Arman (Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rs 4 crore), Rajasthan left-arm medium pacer Aniket Choudhary (RCB, Rs 2 crore) and Hyderabad fast bowler Mohammed Siraj (SRH, Rs 2.6 crore) elicited major interest among the players that went under the hammer.

It was also a red-letter day for associate member Afghanistan with Sunrisers buying Rashid Khan for a hefty sum and acquiring spinning all-rounder Mohammad Nabi for the base price of Rs 30 lakh. This was the first time Afghan players were in the auction pool.

While 66 players were picked up by the franchises, many seasoned names were left dejected. Alex Hales, Ross Taylor, Jonny Bairstow, Ishant Sharma and Imran Tahir had no takers.

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