Jofra Archer, the Sussex and former West Indies U-19 pace bowler, broke through the million-dollar mark at the IPL auction in Bangalore while England plays enjoyed mixed fortunes on the opening day. Ben Stokes was again the star attraction, earning a GBP1.37million ($1.95million) deal with Rajasthan Royals while Chris Woakes also gained a million-dollar pay-day, but Joe Root did not find a buyer in the opening round of bids.
As expected Archer, who has stated his ambition to play for England and is currently in his qualifying period that is due to run until 2022, became one of the stories of the auction as Royals followed their hefty bid for Stokes by winning a frenzied exchange which finished at GBP800,000 ($1.125millon) after Archer had grabbed the headlines at this year's Big Bash.
Plenty of attention was on Stokes and whether the uncertainty created by his pending court appearance having been charged with affray would diminish interest. IPL franchises have been given assurances that should the legal process rule Stokes out of the entire tournament a replacement could be sought, but not if he is only partly unavailable.
— Ben Stokes (@benstokes38) January 27, 2018
Royals were not put off, although Stokes' final price tag was a little below his 2017 figure when he became the highest-paid overseas player ever at over $2million. Stokes and Archer will be joined at Royals by Jos Buttler who fetched GBP480,000 ($680,000) but fellow wicket-keeper batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings were unsold.
Woakes, who has enjoyed an impressive one-day series in Australia, went for GBP812,000 ($1.15million) when snapped up by Royal Challengers Bangalore with the same franchise also buying Moeen Ali for GBP190,000 ($270,000) as the allrounder secured his first IPL deal. Last year, Woakes went to Kolkata Knight Riders for GBP500,000 ($700,000).
However, England's Test captain Root - who set his base price at GBP166,000 ($235,000) - did not find interest, although players not bought on the opening day can be brought back into the mix at the request of franchises for Sunday's round of bidding.
Last week, Root was withdrawn from England's T20 squad for the tri-series involving Australia and New Zealand having been persuaded about the value of a break by coach Trevor Bayliss, but admitted he had some unease about the image of him missing England matches while putting himself forward for the auction. However, he said it was an opportunity he wanted to take advantage of to help develop his T20 game - that ambition now seems likely to be put on hold.
Root and Bairstow may not have been helped by being key figures in England's Test side which would reduce their availability at the tail-end of the tournament due to the series against Pakistan. Those involved in that series have to return home by May 17 in order to play a round of County Championship matches before the first Test at Lord's. It was an issue that franchises admitted was on their minds ahead of the auction.
Jason Roy, who spent much of the 2017 IPL sat on the bench for Gujarat Lions and the endured a poor run of form when back in England which ultimately cost him his one-day place, has joined Delhi Daredevils for GBP164,000 ($232,000).
When the auction ended for the first day, there were still 16 England players available, including white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales, Mark Wood and Adil Rashid. The franchises will meet on Saturday evening to decide which players who were up today but not bid for they want to be put through for a second round.