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Ben Stokes attracts big IPL offer as Joe Root goes unsold

Rajasthan Royals snapped up the England all-rounder.

Ben Stokes was sold for almost £1.4million at the latest Indian Premier League auction.

The England all-rounder’s impending court case did little to affect his value as he was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals, although the figure does represent a decrease on the £1.7million Rising Pune Supergiant paid last year.

England Test captain Joe Root went unsold, as did team-mates Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings, but they could yet be signed if franchises request they be included in a second round of bidding on Sunday.

England all-rounder Chris Woakes was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for £800,000 and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler joined Stokes at the Royals for around £488,000.

Opener Jason Roy joined the Delhi Daredevils for his £166,630 base price, while all-rounder Moeen Ali was bought by Bangalore for £190,000.

Stokes, who was named the IPL’s most valuable player last year, was again listed as one of 16 marquee players despite being due to appear at Bristol Magistrates Court on February 13.

The 28-year-old is facing a charge of affray.

With the IPL having assured franchises before the auction they would be able to replace Stokes if he was ruled out for the whole competition, the Durham player fetched the highest price.

Stokes later tweeted: “Buzzing to be representing @rajasthanroyals in this years IPL and great to be playing alongside @josbuttler.”

Rajasthan chief executive Ranjit Barthakur said on the Royals’ official Facebook page: “Ben Stokes is just our kind of guy. (He is) a fantastic performer, a cricketer of today and a cricketer of the future.”

Root, who opted to sit out England’s upcoming Twenty20 Tri-Series against Australia and New Zealand to enter the auction, was not the only big name to go unsold.

West Indies opener Chris Gayle and South Africa’s Hashim Amla also failed to find franchises.

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Joe Root could still be sold in the second round of bidding but would not be able to play in the whole tournament

Bidders may have been put off Root because he would need to be back in England before the end of the tournament to prepare for a Test series against Pakistan.

Jofra Archer, the former West Indies Under-19 paceman who is now at Sussex and could qualify for England by 2022, was sold to Rajasthan for around £795,000. The 22-year-old’s reputation has soared after an impressive showing in the Big Bash League in Australia.

There was also a big money deal for 19-year-old Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for around £1million.

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