The two day auction of the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL) at the ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru were full of surprises.
Up to 578 players, out of the 1,122 players registered, had been kept for the final two-day auction. This included 244 capped players (62 from India), 332 uncapped players (34 from overseas), and two players from Associate countries.
Here is a list of the top ten moments from this year's auction:
- Ben Stokes was the biggest purchase for the 11th edition of the tournament, having been sold to Rajasthan Royals (RR) for Rs 12.5 crore. Stokes, who was charged with affray over brawl outside a Bristol nightclub, earlier in January, was on the marquee list with a base price of Rs 2 crore.
- Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat became the costliest Indian player in the 2018 after RR emptied Rs 11.50 crore to buy him. Unadkat played for Rising Pune Supergiant in the last edition and grabbed attention after claiming a hat-trick.
- India opener K L Rahul and middle-order batsman Manish Pandey on Saturday bagged bumper deals of Rs 11 crore each. Pandey, who played for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) last season, was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) while Rahul was snapped up by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
- Four Afghan cricketers created history and made huge strides, this year.
On Saturday, Rashid Khan was bought by the SRH for Rs 9 crore via the right to match card. Meanwhile, Mohammad Nabi was grabbed up by SRH for Rs 1 crore. Zahir Khan and Mujeeb Zadran, who are currently playing in the U-19 Cricket World Cup, were picked up by RR and KXIP, respectively. Zadran bagged a deal of Rs 4 crore and Khan fetched Rs 60 lakh.
- West Indies legend Chris Gayle got third-time lucky and was sold to KXIP for his base price of Rs 2 crore. Gayle, who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) from 2011-2017 did not attract any bids on Saturday and Sunday morning. The batsman who has five IPL hundreds was picked up by KXIP, after his name was announced for the third time.
- Other high-profile players who got another chance included Indian opener M Vijay, wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, and Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson. Vijay was sold to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for Rs 2 crore. Meanwhile, Patel was sold to RCB for Rs 1.7 crore. Johnson grabbed Rs 2 crore and was sold to KKR.
- Sandeep Lamichhane became the first cricketer from Nepal to get an IPL contract. He was bought for his base price of Rs 20 lakh by Delhi Daredevils (DD). Lamichhane, 17, took a hat-trick against Ireland at the 2016 ICC Under-19 World Cup when Nepal made history after entering the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the first time.
- Uncapped all-rounder Krunal Pandya was retained by Mumbai Indians (MI) for Rs 8.8 crore. MI exercised the Right to Match card for Krunal after a bidding war broke out between RR, RCB and SRH.
- Australian batsman Chris Lynn, pacer Mitchell Starc, and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell bagged Rs 9 crore plus deals this season. Lynn was bought by KKR for Rs 9.6 crore. Starc fetched Rs 9.4 crore from KKR. Maxwell, on the other hand, went to DD for Rs. 9 crore.
- Morne Morkel, Unmukt Chand, Ishant Sharma, Ashton Agar, Aiden Markram, Dale Steyn, Nathan Lyon, Lasith Malinga, Shaun Marsh, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Martin Guptill, were among the players who went unsold.
The 2018 edition of the T20 lucrative tournament is slated to be held from April 7 to May 27.