Kolkata Knight Riders" Jay Mehta and Jacques Kallis have a chat during the IPL auction 27 Jan, 2018
© BCCIIn an early big surprise to come out of the 2018 IPL auction, Chris Gayle went unsold in the first round of bids in Bangalore on Saturday. Gayle, who has been one of the biggest stars in the IPL over the league"s first decade, had set his base price at INR 2 crore (USD 312,500 approx). The second unsold player of the day was England captain Joe Root - there had been questions asked ahead of the auction on whether the England players would be bought at the auction, given their availability issues. Both players could be called back into the auction on day two, if requested by any franchise. Another England player had no problems going for big bucks, though. Allrounder Ben Stokes was the biggest buy in the first round of bidding, going from a base price of INR 2 crore to INR 12.5 crore (USD 1.95m approx) to Rajasthan Royals. Questions remain over whether he will play in the IPL at all, though, as he faces charges of affray - if he is ruled out before the tournament begins, the IPL will allow Royals a replacement player. India opener Shikhar Dhawan was the first player bought at the auction, by Sunrisers Hyderabad, his old franchise using a Right To Match (RTM) card to snap him up after extensive bidding among other teams. He was sold for INR 5.2 crore (USD 812,500 approx) after Kings XI Punjab offered the first bid of the morning with INR 2 crore (USD 312,500 approx). Royals, returning after their two-year suspension for their role in the spot-fixing scandal of 2013, were next in. Mumbai Indians joined the bidding once Royals dropped out, and more back and forth ensued with Kings XI. Eventually, though, it was Dhawan"s old franchise who had the final say. Offspinner R Ashwin was next up, and while his old franchise Chennai Super Kings were involved in early bidding for him with Kings XI, they dropped out at the 4-crore mark - they could not use an RTM given they had already retained three capped India players in MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja before the auction. Royals then took up the bidding with Kings XI, but it was the latter who won this time, getting Ashwin at INR 7.6 crore (USD 1.1875 million approx) - he was the day"s first million-dollar-plus player. More extensive bidding ensued for Kieron Pollard, the West Indies allrounder. Again Kings XI were involved, and again a RTM was used by Mumbai, snatching Pollard off Delhi Daredevils for INR 5.4 crore (USD 843,750 approx).Two more RTMs were used in the first round, with Super Kings buying back Faf du Plessis for INR 1.6 crore (USD 250,000 approx) and Royals getting Ajinkya Rahane for INR 4 crore (USD 625,000 approx). Australian quick Mitchell Starc was the last player put out in the first round of marquee players, and, after extensive bidding, was secured by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 9.4 crore (USD 1.4m approx).While Kings XI were involved in bidding for almost every player in the first round - they lost out to the RTM on several occasions - Royal Challengers Bangalore did not make a single bid and Sunrisers too were quiet save for the RTM they used on Dhawan. Offspinner Harbhajan Singh opened the second round of bidding, attracting only one bid and going at his base price of INR 2 crore (USD 312,000 approx) to Super Kings. Sunrisers finally got their first bid in when Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan came under the hammer, and they claimed him for INR 2 crore (USD 312,000 approx). Royals and Sunrisers then went head to head for Australia allrounder Glenn Maxwell, bumping up his base price from INR 2 crore to INR 6 crore before RCB finally made their first bid of the day, 10 players into the auction. It was Daredevils, though, who won the bid at INR 9 crore (USD 1.4m approx) after Kings XI did not use their RTM on him. It was believed Daredevils and Kings XI would bid for Gautam Gambhir, in order to give themselves a solid captaincy option, and so it was. The two faced off before Daredevils picked him up for INR 2.8 crore (USD 437,000 approx). Yet again, Kings XI lost out on a winning bid after a RTM was exercised, when CSK bought back allrounder Dwayne Bravo for INR 6.4 crore (USD 1m approx). New Zealand"s Kane Williamson also went back to his old franchise, Sunrisers, for INR 3 crore (USD 468,000 approx) - without the use of a RTM. After all their constant bidding, Kings XI finally got their second player of the day, local Punjab boy Yuvraj Singh at his base price of INR 2 crore (USD 312,000 approx) - Sunrisers chose not to use their RTM on him.

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