England all-rounder Ben Stokes says he is thankful and grateful after being auctioned for a “life-changing” Rs 14.5 crore to Rising Pune Supergiants franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Already on demand after his scintillating performance with both bat and ball during England’s recent tour to India, Stokes was on Monday purchased by the RPSG after close bidding from Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“I’m struggling to put it into words but it’s a life-changing amount of money,” Stokes told the website of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
“I can’t really say more than that. I’m really thankful and grateful for how it went. Seven times my base amount — that’s mental and it hasn’t sunk in yet, but pretty cool to think about I guess.”
A relaxed Stokes watched films on Sunday night knowing his signature would be fiercely fought over in the early hours. That he would end up breaking an IPL record of being the highest-paid foreigner, however, had not crossed his mind.
“I set my alarm for 3.30, got up and waited about 40 minutes for my turn in the auction,” he recalled.
“I was anxious not really knowing what would happen. I didn’t actually see the auction live, I was following it on Twitter. It was hard to follow. I wasn’t sure how much a crore was, people were retweeting stuff — it was complete carnage. I still haven’t seen the footage.
“I kept on refreshing my notifications, I saw people were tweeting and then I realised that Pune had got me.”
Stokes’ value was rapidly driven up thanks to interest from Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and finally Pune, who got their man at more than seven times his base price.
“I hadn’t thought about how much I would go for. I guess having more than one team wanting me was probably the best position to be in. I just wanted to get picked up and play.
“I haven’t been able to play in the past so that was the main thing, anything else was just a bonus. I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting involved,” said Stokes.
“Hopefully I’ll live up to it, win a few games and deliver on what they’ve paid for me. I’m just seriously excited about getting going.”