England players have so far enjoyed mixed results on the first day of the IPL mega auction in Bangalore. Ben Stokes was again the star attraction, earning a 1.37million ($1.95million) deal with Rajasthan Royals while Chris Woakes gained a million-dollar pay-day, but Joe Root did not find a buyer in the opening round of bids.
Plenty of attention was on Stokes and whether the uncertainty created by his pending court appearance having been charged with affray would diminish interest. IPL franchises have been given assurances that should the legal process rule Stokes out of the entire tournament a replacement could be sought, but not if he is only partly unavailable.
Royals were not put off, although Stokes’ final price tag was a little below his 2017 figure when he became the highest-paid overseas player at over $2million. Stokes will be joined at Royals by Jos Buttler who fetched 480,000 ($680,000) but fellow wicket-keeper batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings were unsold.
Woakes, who has enjoyed an impressive one-day series in Australia, went for 812,000 ($1.15million) when snapped up by Royal Challengers Bangalore with the same franchise also buying Moeen Ali for 190,000 ($270,000) as the allrounder secured his first IPL deal. Last year, Woakes went to Kolkata Knight Riders for 500,000 ($700,000).
However, England’s Test captain Root – who set his base price at 166,000 ($235,000) – did not find interest, although players not bought on the opening day can be brought back into the mix at the request of franchises for Sunday’s round of bidding.
Last week, Root was withdrawn from England’s T20 squad for the tri-series involving Australia and New Zealand having been persuaded about the value of a break by coach Trevor Bayliss, but admitted he had some unease about the image of him missing England matches while putting himself forward for the auction. However, he said it was an opportunity he wanted to take advantage of to help develop his T20 game – that ambition now seems likely to be put on hold.
Jason Roy, who spent much of the 2017 IPL sat on the bench for Gujarat Lions and the endured a poor run of form when back in England which ultimately cost him his one-day place, has joined Delhi Daredevils for 164,000 ($232,000).
Away from the capped England players, there will be much interest in the bidding around Jofra Archer, the Sussex pace bowler, who has starred during this year’s BBL and is tipped to be highly valued.