About nine years ago in 2009, another Englishman had grabbed the headlines for earning an IPL deal worth million dollars, The player was none other than Ashes-winning former all-rounder Andrew Flintoff. The now-defunct Chennai Super Kings bought him for a whopping $1.55 million at the player’s auction, making him the most expensive player at the time. However, the former England international failed to justify his huge price tag as he could only play three games for his franchise, taking two wickets and scoring just 62 runs before exiting the tournament due to a knee injury.
Fast forward to 2017, all the eyes are firmly set on another Englishman – Ben Stokes. The England all-rounder was bought for a record-shattering INR 14.5 crore (USD 2.16 million approx) by Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS). The 25-year old has been turning heads with his performances in the last couple of years or so but nobody was expecting such a huge amount of him. No surprises then that pressure will be huge on Stokes to deliver when he dons the RPS jersey in the tenth edition of the tournament but the all-rounder is not paying too much heed to his huge price tag and is only focusing on delivering the goods for his team.
“Regardless of the price tag, I’ll be looking to perform as well as I can. I always look to perform with the bat and the ball and do good for my team,” he said in a recent interview.
This is the first time that Stokes will be playing in the IPL and he is excited to rub shoulders with some of the biggest stars of cricket world.
“It’s a different kind of exposure. It’s a high-profile competition where you get to play with the best players. I will get to share a dressing room with best players in the world and try to learn a lot,” he added.
Stokes, who usually gets the chance to finish off games for England, will also get a chance share the dressing-room with MS Dhoni, who is considered as one of the finest finishers in the game and Stokes is looking to learn a thing or two from the former India skipper.
“He is one of the best finishers in the world and it will be great to share the dressing room with him. It is a role that I get myself into and I would love to pick his brains as he has been successful in doing that,” he said.