Punjab Kings (PBKS) broke their bank to fetch an incredibly high INR 18.50 crores bid on regaining England allrounder Sam Curran at the Indian Premier League 2023 mini-auction on Friday in Kochi, where only Australian allrounder Cameron Green came near him in terms of the league’s most popular bids.
Green bagged a sum of INR 17.50 crores from Mumbai Indians, the five-time IPL champions, to become the second highest-bid player in the league’s history after Curran. The two players went beyond Chris Morris, whom Rajasthan Royals roped for a massive 16.25 crores at IPL 2021 auction.
Also hogging the limelight from set 2, featuring the big-name allrounders, was England captain Ben Stokes, who went to Chennai Super Kings by matching the Morris bid at 16.25 crores as the experienced cricketer reunites with his former Rising Pune Super Giants skipper MS Dhoni. Stokes ends a two-year exile from the league after going down with an injury at the start of IPL 2021 and missing the following season due to workload and mental health concerns.
Also part of set 2, Shakib Al Hasan found no bidders, while Sikandar Raza and Odean Smith attracted base sum bids of INR 50 lakhs from PBKS and defending champions Gujarat Titans. Attracting a little bidding war was Caribbean stalwart Jason Holder, who will now play for RR at INR 5.75 crores.
The auction began, however, with set 1 where specialist batters attracted the paddle frequently, starting with Titans bagging ex-Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson at a base sum bid of INR 2 crores.
Released by PBKS after IPL 2022, Mayank Agarwal got CSK to enter a tussle with SRH before the latter ultimately bought him at INR 8.25 crores. Manish Pandey was also given a new lease of life in the IPL by the Capitals, who bought him at INR 2.4 crores. As was Ajinkya Rahane, whom CSK picked at INR 50 lakhs.
From the batters’ set, it was England’s young right-hander Harry Brook, however, who fetched the maximum financial moolah after garnering interest from almost every franchise and going for a huge sum of INR 13.25 crores to SRH. South Africa’s potent middle-order batter Riley Rossouw initially found no takers but was purchased by Delhi Capitals on return at the auction room for INR 4.6 crores.
The fate was similar for Joe Root, who is geared up for his maiden IPL stint now after finding a base sum bid of INR 1 crore with the Royals. It seemed that the franchises were apprehensive on Root’s availability initially but then had a quick recognition of his imminent late departure for the Ashes summer back home.
In other big news from the auction, West Indies’ hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batter Nicholas Pooran attracted a bid of INR 16 crores to Lucknow Super Giants. Just when Pooran’s IPL stocks seemed on the wane, the Giants came up with a punt that shall inspire a comeback from the promising left-hander. Similarly encouraging would be the bid made by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Englishman Will Jacks for INR 3.2 crores.
Fast-bowler Joshua Little became the first Ireland international representative after Eoin Morgan to find an IPL deal after getting a bid of INR 4.4 crores from the Titans, who bolstered their pace bowling group with the youngster’s inclusion following an impressive year for him. Little was the pick of the Irish cricketers at the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia, bagging a hat-trick in Adelaide against New Zealand during a Super 12 encounter.