Bengaluru: England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Indian youngsters Manish Pandey and Lokesh Rahul emerged as the most valueable players at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction here on Saturday. The Australian trio of Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc and Chris Lynn were also sold for hefty prices along with India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Debut season winners Rajasthan Royals (RR) secured Stokes for an eye-popping Rs 12.5 crore (almost $2 million. Stokes was adjudged the most valuable player at last year's IPL while turning out for Rising Pune Supergiant. Pandey and Rahul were both sold for Rs 11 crore. Pandey was at the centre of an intense bidding war between Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
Read More: IPL Auction: Starc, Maxwell Get Big Prices
He eventually went to Hyderabad at 11 times his base price as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) decided not to exercise the right to match (RTM) option. Rahul started at a base price of Rs 50 lakh but a bitter tussle between Punjab and Hyderabad greatly inflated his price before the former took him for a whopping Rs 11 crore.
Earlier, Maxwell started at a base price of Rs 2 crore and sparked a bidding war between Hyderabad, Punjab, Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) before the Delhi Daredevils (DD) made a late bid to snap him up for Rs 9 crore.
Starc was also at the centre of some hot competition between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab. Kolkata eventually snapped up the Australian pace spearhead for a whopping Rs 9.4 crore. Chris Lynn of Australia was sold to KKR for Rs 9.6 crore after they saw off challenges from Delhi and Bangalore.
Kedar Jadhav attracted the third highest price among the Indians after being sold to the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for Rs 7.8 crore. He had started at a low base price, but his value quickly escalated as CSK, SRH and RR went for him.
Punjab were among the front runners at the auction, bagging several high profile players. They had earlier taken Ashwin for Rs 7.6 crore. The star off-spinner, who had started with a base price of Rs 2 crore, was not retained by Chennai Super Kings ahead of the auction.
Punjab beat off bidding from Chennai and Rajasthan before sealing the deal. They also took Australian opener Aaron Finch for Rs 6.2 crore after surviving strong challenges from Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Punjab had also initially won the bidding war for Dwayne Bravo who had a base price of Rs 2 crore. The Mohali based franchise initially seemed to have taken the West Indies all-rounder at Rs 6.4 crore, but Chennai exercised their RTM option and snapped up the player at the same price.
The talented Karun Nair started at a low base price of Rs 50 lakh but was sold to Punjab for Rs 5.6 crore after a heated contest. Punjab then exercised their RTM option on Australia's David Miller after Mumbai had made a bid for Rs 3 crore. Punjab also took Australian opener Aaron Finch for Rs 6.2 crore after surviving strong challenges from Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Bangalore meanwhile, bought Kiwi veteran Brendon McCullum for Rs 3.6 crore. McCullum's compatriot Kane Williamson started at a base price of Rs 1.5 crore and was bought back by Hyderabad for Rs 3 crore after a short tussle with Bangalore.
Shikhar Dhawan, Kieron Pollard, Ajinkya Rahane and Faf du Plessis were meanwhile brought back by their respective teams using the RTM option. Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan went to Chennai for his base price of Rs 2 crore as there were no other takers.
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan started at a base price of Rs 1 crore and went for double that amount to Hyderabad after a short tussle with Rajasthan and Kolkata. Gautam Gambhir went to Delhi for Rs 2.8 crore. Yuvraj meanwhile, was taken by Punjab at his base price of Rs 2 crore as there were no other bidders.
Among the all-rounders, Yusuf Pathan and Colin Monroe went to Hyderabd and Delhi respectively for identical prices of Rs 1.9 crore. England's Moeen Ali went to RCB for Rs 1.7 crore. Star Australian all-rounder Shane Watson started at a surprisingly low base prise of Rs 1 crore. He went for Rs 4 crore to Chennai who beat off competition from Rajasthan.
Veteran South Africa star Hashim Amla, England batsman Joe Root, New Zealand's Martin Guptill and Australian all-rounder James Faulkner were the biggest names to remain unsold. Among the Indians, Murali Vijay remained unsold at a base price of Rs 2 crore. (IANS)
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