Ben goes from ‘Stokes’ to ‘$$$tokes’!

The English all-y Ben ‘The Moneymaker’ Stokes gathered a whooping amount of INR 14.5 Crore, when Rising Pune Supergiants made a record-breaking bid to get him in their squad, whereas another Englishman Tymal Mills also hit a huge jackpot when Royal Challenger Bangalore, the runner-ups of IPL 09, lighted their purse by INR 12 Crore.

I witnessed the live telecast of the auction ceremony in which total 66 players were sold to total 8 different franchisee in the span of 6 hours of a dramatic event. This auction event was the special one because for the first time, more than 5 English players were the part of this bidding war. Since the cricket season in England starts in the month of May, most of the English cricketers were not willing to play in the IPL, but in this year’s IPL auction, it was crystal clear that many English players want to enjoy the fun of the best cricket league in world. It was also surprising that ECB allowed these many players to play in the IPL all at once.

In my opinion, snapping up Ben Stokes was a big gamble played by RPSG, since all the English players are available only for the month of April due to the international season, which starts from May. RPSG never had a proper all-rounder who can both bat and bowl with equal precision. Yes, they had Rajat Bhatia, but come on! That lad is nowhere near to Stokesy. RPSG did manage to grab some quality players from the former franchisee Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, but all they could manage to get were proper batsmen like MS Dhoni, Faf Du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith, ergo they never had a good bowling line up, which resulted into an unbalanced side, which made them to get satisfied with the last position of the table in IPL 09.

Another reason of bringing Stokes to the side was a gambling call, is because this is the last year of the contract of all the players, which means from the next year, all teams are going to be reshuffled. So bringing one single player for this big amount wouldn’t make any sense if you are supposed to release him after the end this season. Yes, if he is a world-class ‘Not-went-for-four-sixes-in-WorldT20-final’ player and you have other good bowlers by his side to contribute in team’s victories, then I’d say it’s a stunning buy, but we can’t overlook the possibilities that this team could have bought other players like Chris Woaks, Imran Tahir and Ishant Sharma who can bowl way better than Ben Stokes, because batting was never a problem for RPSG but bowling was!

On the other side, I’d say it was a brilliant call to grab Tymal Mills by RCB. There are more than one reasons to support this decision. One, the speedster like Mills will always bring an aggressive state of mind in the dressing room. Two, their own speedster Mitchell Starc parted ways with RCB, which made them buy another speedy to take his place. Yeah, it is too early to say that Mills has the same type of caliber as does Starc, but they got to take chances with Mills since they were too close to snatch the title in the last season but it was their bowling attack which failed at the crucial moment. They never had problems with their batting as the best T20 batsmen like Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers and Shane Watson are on their side. It was their bowling attack which made them give away their super-deserving title in the last season. Third, they did NOT retain Chris Jordan! Jordan is a type of bowler who might get hit for boundaries in his initial overs but when it comes to the death overs, he is one of the bests. He’s got those yorkers which only allow batsmen to take a single or leave those away. He may not get wickets on those but yes, he is economical! His spell in the final of World T20 just can’t be unseen. I am still struggling to find the reason why RCB just let him go. On the other hand, Mills has the similar quality of bowling yorkers at the end as well as at the beginning of the innings. Plus, he is able to bring in those variations in speeds while delivering the ball. Hence, all I can say is picking up Mills could be the masterstroke played by RCB since he could be the reason of RCB being the champions of IPL 10. Is he worth of INR 12 Crore? If you are getting INR 20 Crore as prize money, then it is totally worth to have a player with INR 12 Crore.


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