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Young pacer Jaydev Unadkat became the most expensive domestic player at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction here on Sunday when he was bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 115 million even as several big international names remained unsold.
The former IPL champions bought the 26-year-old from Saurashtra after beating off a stiff challenge from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
England all-rounder Ben Stokes became the most expensive player at the IPL auction for the second year running when he was taken by Rajasthan for Rs 125 million during the opening day of the auction on Saturday.
Surprisingly, Unadkat was more expensive than even star New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult, who was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs 22 million.
Unadkat was the second highest wicket-taker during last year's IPL. Representing Rising Pune Supergiant, the 26-year-old had claimed 24 wickets in 12 games at a strike rate of 11.4.
He was also adjudged the Man of the Series during India's 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka in the Twenty20 International (T20I) series last month. He had claimed four wickets over three matches in that series.
On Sunday, Punjab and Chennai were the initial front-runners to secure Unadkat's services. The two teams engaged in a bidding war that saw his value escalate to Rs 110 million from a base price of Rs 15 million. But Rajasthan made a late bid to sweep the pacer away.
The Royals made another expensive deal on Sunday when they acquired the services of off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham for Rs 62 million.
Australian pacer Andrew Tye was another hot property.
The 31-year-old was at the centre of some heated bidding between Punjab and Chennai.
Starting at a base price of Rs 10 million, Tye saw his value shoot up rapidly before Punjab clinched the deal at Rs 72 million. Swashbuckling West Indian batsman Chris Gayle finally was taken in auction after being brought back twice and will play for Kings XI Punjab for Rs 20 million.
Young South African pace sensation Lungi Ngidi, who decimated the Indian batting line-up on his debut in the second Test during the recent three-match series, was bought by CSK at his base price of Rs 5 million.
Indian left-arm seamer Barinder Sran was sold to Punjab for Rs 22 million. India-discard pacer Mohit Sharma went to Punjab for Rs 24 million as they exercised the Right to Match (RTM) option to take him away from Chennai.
Veteran Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson went to KKR at his base price of Rs 20 million. New Zealand quick Tim Southee also went at base price with RCB acquiring his services for Rs 10 million. India wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel went to RCB for Rs 17 million.
The Afghans had reasons to celebrate as their 16-year-old spinner Mujeeb Zadran was bought by Punjab for Rs 40 million. Zahir Khan Pakteen -- another Afghan spinner -- was bought by Rajasthan for Rs 6million. It was a historic day for Nepali cricket as 17-year-old spinner Sandeep Lamichhane was sold at his base price of Rs two million to the Delhi Daredevils.
But even as the big buys caught the eye, the fact that several star players went surprisingly unsold was equally worthy of attention.
Morkel was in good form during the recent Test series against India and it was a surprise when the representatives of the various teams chose not to bid for him.
Their rejection of Steyn was still understandable as the veteran pace ace was injured during the first Test against India and was sidelined for the rest of the series.
New Zealand's Adam Milne and fellow pacer Tymal Mills of England also went unsold. This was a big downturn in fortunes for Mills who was bought for Rs 120 million by RCB last year.
England's David Willey was also unsold with a base price of Rs 20 million. The West Indies duo of Jason Holder and Andre Fletcher did not elicit any bids as well. Holder has a lot of experience in the IPL since he has played for KKR and CSK in the past.