Ben Stokes becomes the most expensive overseas acquisition in the history of the Indian Premier League as Rising Pune Supergiants prised him away for a massive INR 14.5 Crore following an intensely-contested bidding war, that was kick-started by two heavyweights Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Daredevils also entered midway but none of them could top RPS’ valuation.
Sanjeev Goenka, the owner of the franchise, termed Stokes the ‘hero we need’. “He’s a complete player. He completes our squad. We’ve been lacking this genre of player. We have many heroes, but this is one hero we were lacking,” Goenka said on the sidelines of the player auction in Bangalore.
Stokes also became the second-most expensive buy (after Yuvraj Singh for INR 16 crore in 2015) in IPL. After going aggressively at the start, most of the other competitors pulled out. Goenka, however, was prepared to let go off a massive sum.
“We knew he was going to go expensive. We believe he’s going to be available for the first 14 games and right now we are focusing on the first 14 games. We are very happy. We pretty much knew we aren’t going to get him at a lesser.
“Everyone (including Steve Smith and Stephen Fleming) has been part of this decision,” Goenka said.
Fleming, the head coach, too expressed his delight at having Stokes in the Pune squad. “Big player, isn’t it. He’s the form all-rounder. For this year we really want to go hard. If you see this guy, he’s all in.”