Ben Stokes sets record price for an overseas player in IPL
All-rounder sells for £1.7m, with another Englishman, bowler Tymal Mills, attracting £1.4m at Indian cricket auction
England all-rounder Ben Stokes has become the most expensive overseas player in Indian Premier League history after he was bought by the Rising Pune Giants for £1.7m.
Bowler Tymal Mills also commanded a huge price at the first round of the IPL auction as Royal Challengers Bangalore secured his services for £1.4m.
Several other English players were snapped up at the sale, reflecting the turnaround in the nation's one-day fortunes. Kolkata Knight Riders signed all-rounder Chris Woakes for just over £500,000 and England's one-day captain Eoin Morgan joined Kings XI Punjab for £240,000.
Gujarat Lions paid £120,000 for Jason Roy and Chris Jordan was signed by Sun Risers Hyderabad for £60,000.
Jos Buttler and Sam Billings, who played in the tournament last year, were retained by their teams – Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils.
Stokes has not played in the IPL before but sparked a bidding war at the auction. His eventual fee means that only India captain Virat Kohli is worth more.
"Stokes attracted multiple bids from the rival franchises competing in the tournament before the gavel finally came down after Pune put in a bid of 145 million rupees," says The Times.
"The winning bid shattered the previous record paid for a foreign star, which was set in 2014 when the Delhi Daredevils shelled out 90 million rupees for former England captain Kevin Pietersen."
Mills, meanwhile, "set a new record price for a specialist bowler", notes Cricinfo.
The English players have proved popular even though they may not be available for the entire tournament, reports the BBC. The IPL runs from 5 April to 21 May, but England have two one-day internationals against Ireland in early May.
"They then host South Africa in a three-match ODI series, with the games scheduled to take place on 24, 27 and 29 May, before the ICC Champions Trophy starts in England on 1 June."