Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 08:06pm
Ben Stokes and Tymal Mills astonished after bagging 'life-changing' IPL deals
Stokes and Tymal Mills will become this country's highest ever IPL earners, after the all-rounder was sold at a record price for any overseas player in the 10-year history of the world's most lucrative cricket tournament and his England Twenty20 team-mate was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Â£1.4million.
Mills, exclusively a Twenty20 specialist after having to opt out of longer formats because of his back problems, may earn more than Stokes this spring when he will be available for the IPL's full eight weeks.
Stokes, a match-winner in all formats, is expected to be recalled by the England and Wales Cricket Board before mid-May to prepare for this summer's Champions Trophy.
There has been no ECB confirmation yet, but the 25-year-old will be paid pro-rata at Pune.
Stokes was touted as the hottest property at Monday's glitzy auction in Bangalore, and so it turned out.
He was up at 3.30am back in England, just as trading began - but it proved tough to work out from 5,000 miles away what was going on, especially because Stokes' knowledge of Indian currency multiples is sketchy.
"I set my alarm for 3.30, got up and waited about 40 minutes for my turn," he said.
"I was anxious not really knowing what would happen.
"It was hard to follow on Twitter. I wasn't sure how much a Crore was - people were retweeting stuff, and it was complete 'carnage'."
It all worked out beautifully in the end, though, for Stokes - who discovered just a week ago that he is to be England's new Test match vice-captain.
He added: "Seven times my base amount - that's mental ... but pretty cool to think about.
"I hope I'll live up to it, win a few games and deliver on what they've paid for me.
"It's a life-changing amount of money ... I'm just seriously excited about getting going."
Stokes will be joined at the IPL by his England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, snapped up by Kings XI Punjab for Â£240,000, and their international team-mate Chris Woakes - who fetched around Â£500,000 with Kolkata Knight Riders.
Morgan will almost certainly need to be back in England for two one-day internationals against his native Ireland at Bristol and Lord's in early May.
Stokes, due to fly with Morgan et al to the Caribbean on Wednesday for three ODIs against West Indies, has been valued at only slightly less than the all-time record IPL fee of Â£1.9million paid by Delhi Daredevils for India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh two years ago.
Of England's other hopefuls, Sam Billings and Jos Buttler will be involved too - not via the auction but on existing deals with Delhi and Mumbai Indians respectively - while Sussex left-armer Mills is about to dwarf his previous earnings.
"I can't believe it," he said.
"I did not see this coming ... It has been a crazy day."
Mills, who has been in the United Arab Emirates this month at the Pakistan Super League, did not have to be up quite as early as Stokes.
The 24-year-old added: "I put the auction on TV.
"When my name came up I was nervous, giddy and jumpy.
"I was the lowest of the base prices, because I just wanted to get picked up by a team. I didn't want to wait until July for my next cricket, which would have been the NatWest T20 Blast.
"When it finished I did not know how much it was worth. When I worked it out I could not believe it - it did not seem real. It's an amount of money that can change your life. It will for me."
Elsewhere in the auction, Mills' England and Sussex team-mate Chris Jordan secured his base price of Â£60,000 to join Sunrisers Hyderabad - and big-hitting opener Jason Roy also reached his minimum value of Â£120,000 and will play for Gujarat Lions.
There was no bid, however, for Alex Hales - who is still recovering from a broken hand - or Jonny Bairstow.
Among other overseas purchases, pace bowlers were in highest demand - with New Zealand's Trent Boult (Kolkata), South Africa's Kagiso Rabada (Delhi) and Australia's Pat Cummins (Delhi) all sold for upwards of Â£500,000.
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Ben Stokes will be well paid for his IPL commitments