Rajasthan Royals sign Stokes, Gayle overlooked in IPL auction
Ben Stokes was snapped up for big money by Rajasthan Royals at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on Saturday, as Chris Gayle and Joe Root went unsold in the first round of bids.
The Royals paid £1.4million to sign Stokes, the top price paid for any player, despite the all-rounder facing a charge of affray relating to an incident in Bristol in September.
The IPL had guaranteed teams they will be able to replace the England international should the legal proceedings leave him unavailable for the duration of the competition, which takes places from April 4 to May 31.
Stokes is due in court to answer the charge on February 13.
Destructive West Indies batsman Gayle has been a star performer in the lucrative Twenty20 competition, playing for Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But the 38-year-old will have to wait for the second day of the auction to learn if he will feature in the 2018 tournament.
Root was also overlooked on day one, with franchises potentially concerned about the availability of England's Test captain.
Sunrisers Hyderabad used their Right to Match to retain Shikhar Dhawan after considerable interest from rivals.
His India team-mate Ravichandran Ashwin went to Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians signed Kieron Pollard and Mitchell Starc joined Kolkata.
Delhi Daredevils secured Starc's fellow Australian Glenn Maxwell and Chennai Super Kings retained West Indies' Dwayne Bravo.
KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab), Manish Pandey (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Kedar Jadhav (Chennai Super Kings) were among the most expensive Indian players sold.