Rising pace bowler Unadkat joins Stokes team in $1.8 mn IPL deal

BANGALORE, India, Jan 28, (AFP): Rising pace bowler Jaydev Unadkat joined Ben Stokes in the Rajasthan Royals for $1.8 million on Sunday but a host of foreign stars went unsold in the Indian Premier League auction.

The Royals made Unadkat the second most expensive player in the auction behind England’s Stokes who they bought for $1.96 million on the opening day.

Stokes — still facing an assault criminal case in England — and Unadkat will join Australian captain Steve Smith at the Royals as they return to the lucrative T20 league after a two-year illegal gambling ban.

The Royals were inaugural IPL champions in 2008 but were barred for two seasons with Chennai Super Kings in 2015 over an illegal gambling scandal.

The team also spent almost $1 million for uncapped Indian off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham but were on top of the world after getting Stokes.

Royals executive chairman Ranjit Borthakur shrugged off any doubts about Stokes’ legal troubles preventing him from playing in India.

There was disappointment though for England Test skipper Joe Root, South Africa’s Hashim Amla amd Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga who all failed to find bidders on the second day.

Root, Amla and Malinga did not attract bids in Saturday’s first round and were not even called back for the second day.

South Africa quick Dale Steyn, Australia batsman Shaun Marsh and New Zealand’s Corey Anderson and Martin Guptill were called back but did not attract an offer.

West Indies batsman Chris Gayle only found a place in the third round of bidding when Kings XI Punjab claimed him at the reserve price of $314,000.

Gayle is one of the T20 league’s most prolific scorers but disappointed last year with just 200 runs in nine games for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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