Bengaluru/New Delhi: The biggest spenders in the player auction for the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Monday were Sanjiv Goenka’s Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) at the end of the first half.
Goenka made an ambitious bet for English all-rounder Ben Stokes for Rs14.5 crore— drastically higher than his base price of Rs2 crore.
He is now the highest paid international player ahead of the previous high Australian all-rounder Shane Watson who had attracted a bid of Rs9.5 crore for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in last year’s auction.
Goenka said, “He is a complete player. He completes our squad. We have been lacking this one genre of player in our team.This is a very conscious strategy, we knew he was going to be expensive and we knew we won’t get him below this price. We are focused on the first 14 games and he’s going to be there for those,” he added. Goenka’s team, which was led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni last season, stood second last at number seven on the points table and is clearly looking to make a strong comeback this year.
Dhoni was on Sunday removed as captain of Rising Pune Supergiants and replaced by Australian cricketer Steve Smith, ending his innings as skipper in both international and franchise cricket. Goenka’s team also picked up bowler Jaydev Unadkat for Rs30 lakh. They have Rs2.7 crore in their kitty.
After Stokes, English bowler, Tymal Mills fetched the second-highest price. Mills was sold to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for Rs12 crore.
Amrit Thomas, chairman of the RCB, said, “Mills was a good buy and we are satisfied with it. Our focus is on the home games and we believe Mills will suit our home conditions and add balance into the squad.” The team which made to the finals last season also bought Aniket Choudhary for Rs2 crore against a competitive bid by the Intex led Gujarat Lions. They are left with Rs3.8 crore in their wallet.
The eight franchises have a total of over Rs148 crore to spend in the auction, which can be utilized to buy up to 76 players.
Fast bowlers, Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult were sold to Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, respectively, for Rs5 crore each. The Delhi franchise also picked up fast bowler Pat Cummins for Rs4.5 crore. Delhi did not qualify for the play-offs in IPL 9 and finished at no. six on the points table.
Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan Arman was sold to Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs4 crore significantly higher than his base price of Rs50 lakh. The team finished at number three last season.
Gowtham K. sold to the Mumbai Indians for Rs 2crore after an intense bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad. His base price was Rs10 lakh. “K. Gotham is 27 and he has been in and around for a while. Everyone knows he’s an off-spinner and he can be a pinch-hitter. More than anything we were looking for leaders and he will be an asset on the field. He knows what he can do with the ball but more than that he’s a leader,” said Akash Ambani, the owner of Mumbai Indians.
Among other big purchases, all-rounder Chris Woakes from England was sold to Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs4.2 crore.