Stokes nets £1.4m IPL deal but Root unsold

Ben Stokes

England’s Ben Stokes sold for almost £1.4m in the Indian Premier League auction but Test captain Joe Root went unsold in the first round of bidding.

Stokes, who was named the most valuable player last year following a £1.7m contract with Rising Pune Supergiant, has joined Rajasthan Royals.

“Ben is a cricketer of today and a cricketer of the future,” said Royals chief executive Ranjit Barthakur.

Chris Woakes fetched £820,000 from Royal Challengers Banglaore.

Jofra Archer, the 22-year-old Sussex all-rounder, was also signed by Rajasthan Royals as he went for £800,000.

Archer has been a success in Australia’s T20 franchise competition, the Big Bash, and although born in West Indies, wants to play his international cricket for England.

Following the auction, Archer tweeted: “Wow, can’t put this feeling into words.”

Other England cricketers to be purchased included wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (£485,000), all-rounder Moeen Ali (£187,000) and batsman Jason Roy (£165,000).

Stokes, 28, is due to appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on 13 February charged with affray after an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September, but has been given permission by the ECB to continue playing cricket while he waits for his court case. He will line up alongside Australia captain Steve Smith (£1.38m).

Stokes tweeted: “Buzzing to be representing Rajasthan Royals in this years IPL and great to be playing alongside Jos Buttler.”

Root was one of three big-name players to go unsold in the early rounds of bidding – the others being West Indies’ Chris Gayle and South Africa’s Hashim Amla.

England’s Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings also remain without a franchise, although they could, like Root, still be snapped up by one of the eight franchises when bidding in Bengaluru enters a second day.

Eighteen players have already been retained by the teams, including India captain Kohli, former skipper MS Dhoni and South Africa batsman AB De Villiers.

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc (£1.04m) and big-hitting batsman Chris Lynn (£1.06m) attracted big bids while India batsman KL Rahul cost King’s XI Punjab £1.2m.

This year’s T20 competition begins on 7 April. Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are returning to the competition after serving two-year bans over a corruption scandal.

Key moves in IPL – top prices & England players
Name Price Franchise Retained or purchased in auction?
Virat Kohli £1.87m Royal Challengers Bangalore Retained
Rishabh Pant £1.65m Delhi Daredevils Retained
MS Dhoni £1.65m Chennai Super Kings Retained
Rohit Sharma £1.65m Mumbai Indians Retained
Steve Smith £1.38m Rajasthan Royals Retained
Ben Stokes £1.38m Rajasthan Royals Retained
Chris Woakes £820,000 Royal Challengers Bangalore Purchased
Jofra Archer £800,000 Rajasthan Royals Purchased
Jos Buttler £485,000 Rajasthan Royals Purchased
Moeen Ali £187,000 Royal Challengers Bangalore Purchased
Jason Roy £165,000 Delhi Daredevils Purchased

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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