11th edition of IPL auction: 578 cricketers go under hammer today

11th edition of IPL auction: 578 cricketers go under hammer today

England's star allrounder Ben Stokes topped the Indian Premier League auction on Saturday selling for $1.96 million despite a looming court case for assault.

Rajasthan Royals bought former player Stuart Binny for Rs 50 lakh, much below the all-rounder's base price. Perhaps to convert that into a bit of a cultural exchange - attested to by quips from IPL governing chairman Rajeev Shukla and Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta during one of the press conferences held on the day - Harbhajan Singh was paid Rs 2 crore to embark on an expedition towards the Indian Ocean, at the end of which hung a bright yellow jersey. Aussie batsman Chris Lynn went to Kolkata Knight Riders for 9 crores 60 lakhs, and so did his fellow countryman pacer Mitchell Starc for nearly same amount. And the CSK who had earlier retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina have managed to acquire Dwayne Bravo Bac and Faf du Plessis. Delhi Daredevils bought Glenn Maxwell for a whopping Rs 9 crore while they retained Gautam Gambhir for Rs 2.8 crore. England cricketer Sam Billings went unsold at the IPL auction.

Mumbai didn't go for too many players, but they went big on the IPL regulars. Opening batsman K L Rahul, strangely out of favour in limited overs cricket since the tour of Sri Lanka previous year, was bought for a huge Rs 11 crore by Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad matched that sum to acquire the services of dashing middle-order batsman Manish Pandey.

Australia opener Aaron Finch was sold for Rs 6.20 crore to Kings XI Punjab. Even Royal Challengers Bangalore, for whom he has played many match-winning knocks, didn't raise a paddle for him.

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What are the player base prices? Over the years, teams like Rajasthan and Punjab chose to conserve a fair amount of their money at a time when central revenues were low and sponsorship in smaller markets was hard to come by. This ensures that each team can retain a maximum of five players who were on its playing list last season.

Like the Royals, the Chennai Super Kings also made a resounding entry into the cash-rich league. The Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise is more likely to use its RTM for the prolific T20 dasher Chris Lynn, who has had some success with them.Rajasthan Royals, who had only retained Steve Smith, have the highest purse left and may go the distance for someone like West Indian swashbuckler Evin Lewis, who has smashed two T20 global hundreds against India.Similarly, Colin Munro will be in demand for his recent exploits in T20 cricket. England cricketer Jason Roy was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 1.50 crore.

KL Rahul and Manish Pandey were picked for 11 crore each. The aggressive all-rounder raked up 316 runs in 12 matches for Pune previous year, along with 12 wickets, to justify his hefty price tag. Indian opening batsman Parthiv Patel remains unsold, while Quinton de Kock was bought by RCB for Rs 2.80 crore. We wanted to go for tried and tested players who have done well under pressure. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders have substantially bigger cash reserves, with INR 59 crore (US $9.2m) left.

The right-to-match card will make teams' approach towards these players intriguing.

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