In a move that surprised cricket fans across the world, hard-hitting West Indies batsman Chris Gayle went unsold on the first day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction in Bengaluru. None of the eight franchises showed interest in the Jamaican but went all out for England allrounder Ben Stokes, who pocketed a whopping Rs. 12.5 crore from Rajasthan Royals.
Gayle, who played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, until the last season can be brought back to the pool if the franchises so wish at the end of the auction. However, Stokes expectedly invited a bidding war and will go laughing to the bank despite a court hearing pending in the bar-brawl case.
Shikhar Dhawan was the first player to be auctioned and the Indian opening batsman fetched Rs. 5.2 crore after Sunrisers Hyderabad used their Right to Match (RTM) card.
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc also made big money and was bought for Rs. 9.4 crore by Kolkata Knight Riders.
In another surprise, Chennai Super Kings didn't use their RTM for offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin after he was successfully bid by Kings XI Punjab for Rs. 7.6 crore.
Ajinkya Rahane will continue to bat for Rajasthan Royals, who used their RTM for him for a price of Rs. 4 crore.
Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings exercised their RTMs for Keiron Pollard (Rs. 5.4 crore) and Faf du Plessis (Rs. 1.6 crore) respectively.