(ESPN) Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga, arguably the highest-profile overseas batsman and bowler in seasons past, went unsold on day one of the IPL 2018 auction in Bengaluru. Gayle had set his base price at INR 2 crore (USD 312,500 approx), and Malinga at INR 1 crore (USD 156,000 approx).
England captain Joe Root, who has never been part of the IPL previously, also went unsold – there had been questions asked ahead of the auction on whether the England players would be bought at the auction, given their availability issues. Unsold players could be called back into the auction on day two, if requested by any franchise.
Another England player had no problems going for big bucks, though. Allrounder Ben Stokes was the biggest buy in the first round of bidding, going from a base price of INR 2 crore to INR 12.5 crore (USD 1.95m approx) to Rajasthan Royals. Questions remain over whether he will play in the IPL at all, though, as he faces charges of affray – if he is ruled out before the tournament begins, the IPL will allow Royals a replacement player.
Another big buy on the day was left-arm spin-bowling allrounder Krunal Pandya. As expected, there was fierce bidding for him, bumping up his base price a mind-boggling 22 times from INR 40 lakh to INR 8.8 crore. That winning bid was made by Royal Challengers Bangalore, but thwarted by Mumbai Indians and their RTM. That meant Mumbai paid more for Krunal than they did for the third of their retained players, Jasprit Bumrah, whom they had kept on their roster for INR 7 crore before the auction.
Jofra Archer, the man from Barbados who is awaiting qualification for England, attracted as much attention at the auction as he is doing on the field at the Big Bash League. Daredevils, CSK, Kings XI, Sunrisers and Royals all bid for him, meaning his base price of INR 40 lakh ballooned 18 times to INR 7.2 crore (USD 1.13m approx) before he was secured by Royals. Archer has been in the spotlight for his fiery pace and dead-eye fielding for Hobart Hurricanes down under.