With England Test captain Ben Stokes being acquired by four-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for INR 16.25 crore in the IPL 2023 mini-auction in Kochi on Friday, Australia's T20 World Cup winning captain Aaron Finch thinks the pace all-rounder is someone who can structure out any side tremendously well.
Stokes entered the auction at INR 2 crore. Royal Challengers Bangalore competed with Rajasthan Royals before Lucknow Super Giants entered the bid at INR 7 crore. Sunrisers Hyderabad too entered the fray shortly, followed by CSK.
Eventually, the MS Dhoni-captained side roped him in for the third joint-highest paycheck ever in the IPL, surpassing the one the franchise paid for Deepak Chahar in the 2022 mega auction.
Stokes was part of a bank-breaking all-rounder's set in which his England team-mate Sam Curran became the most expensive player with INR 18.5 crores signing by Punjab Kings while Mumbai Indians got Australia's Cameron Green at a price of INR 17.5 crores.
"Oh, absolutely, I think Chennai have a history of going after experienced players, knowing what they want. And when you compliment that with the rest of the squad, it's so balanced when you throw that world-class all-rounder in there."
"I think the only separation between Sam Curran, Ben Stokes and Cameron Green is Sam Curran's ability to bowl in the last five overs. His record has been unbelievable. So, that probably gives him the nod if you're going down the road of a bowling all-rounder."
"But Ben Stokes, he structures out any side tremendously well because he can bat in the top four, he can bat in the top six, and you can almost bank on him to bowl four overs as well. So, that's a huge asset and I'm not surprised that all three of those guys have been paid what they have been paid there," said Finch on Cricket Live - Auction Special show on Star Sports.
Ex-Australia opener Simon Katich wasn't surprised over the whopping amount Curran got, considering he was Player of the Tournament in 2022 T20 World Cup triumph for England and was Player of the match in the final against Pakistan.
"Yeah, no surprises for Sam Curran, he's had a fantastic 2022 around the world. He obviously missed last year with his back injury but at 24 years of age, there's a huge upside to him. He's a competitor and obviously, he's played for Punjab Kings before so I think he's a good pick for them."
Katich was also pleased with Green being roped in by Mumbai, the five-time IPL winners. "Also, I like the fact that Mumbai picked up Cameron Green. I think he's someone who's going to be suited to the Wankhede with his bounce and can bowl with the new ball and then he can free up Archer and Bumrah to bowl in the middle and the back end."
"So, I think he brings a lot of balance in that team and they can bat him anywhere in the order, given that Kishan batted at 4 before. So, Cameron Green is a flexible player and he's got a huge upside as well, so no surprise that the all-rounders there have fetched big bucks."