England allrounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes and their limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan are among the seven players who have listed themselves at the highest base price of INR 2 crore (approx US $298,000) for the IPL player auction scheduled in Bangalore on February 20. India seamer Ishant Sharma, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, and the Australian fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins are the rest of the players in this set.
Considering they will have to put a majority of their players back into the auction in 2018, some franchise officials said they would not be too aggressive in buying players this season. However, they did agree that there would be considerable interest in the English players.A total of 799 players were part of the initial roster which would be pruned once the franchises submit their choices before the deadline this weekend. There were 160 capped players from eight countries – leaving out Bangladesh and Pakistan – and 639 from India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and West Indies. Of the 24 capped Indian cricketers, everyone barring Ishant has listed their base price at INR 30 lakh.
Although the IPL is yet to decide on the retention rules, franchises expect the right-to-match option to be available. This allows franchises to buy back a specific number of the players they have released for the auction, by matching the highest bid those players attract; if they match the bid they win the player.
With the impressive all-round skills he showed during England's recent tour of India, Stokes tops the list of marquee players that several franchises have said they would like to have.
After Andrew Strauss took over as the ECB director of cricket last year, he has allowed England players the freedom to play in domestic T20 leagues like the IPL to gain wider exposure. Morgan, who has played for three different teams, Jos Butler (Mumbai Indians), Sam Billings (Delhi Daredevils), Chris Jordan (Royal Challengers Bangalore) have all commented on the positive influence of playing the IPL.