Ahead of the 11th season of the most-attended T-20 cricket league in the world – IPL, which will be held from April 7 to May 27, Indian opener KL Rahul and middle-order batsman Manish Pandey emerged as the most expensive capped Indian cricketers so far on day one of the IPL auction 2018 that took place in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Both Karnataka team-mates were bought by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) respectively for Rs. 11 crore each.
English all-rounder Ben Stokes emerged as the most expensive overseas player so far at this auction as he was bought by Rajasthan Royals at an exorbitant price of Rs. 12.50 crore.
Stokes, who was named the most valuable player last year and played with Rising Pune Supergiant, has now joined Royals squad. “Ben is a cricketer of today and a cricketer of the future,” said Rajasthan Royals’ Chief Executive Ranjit Barthakur.
This year, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin moved to KXIP being bought by the franchise for Rs. 7.8 crore while Harbhajan Singh was bought by Chennai Super Kings.
Apart from this, Mitchell Starc, Kedar Jadhav, Chris Woakes, Glenn Maxwell were the other big gainers in this year’s auction.
Using the RTM (Right to Match) card, which is the part of retention policy, Rajasthan bought Rahane for Rs. 4 crore and Shikhar Dhawan was retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad. Teenaged Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was also retained by SRH during the auction.
Interestingly, KXIP had originally made a bid of Rs. 9 crore for Khan which was eventually overlapped by SRH using the RTM card. However, teams can use limited RTM cards, as per the IPL auction rules.
After another Afghan cricketer Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan has become the second Afghanistan player who has been picked for IPL.