R Ashwin
File photo of KXIP off-spinner R AshwinReuters

The first few hours of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 auction's first day had quite a few surprises for cricket experts, fans and franchises as well.

While T20 maverick Chris Gayle was snubbed by all teams, let alone Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Kolkata Knight Riders did not go after their former captain Gautam Gambhir.  | IPL Auction 2018 live updates |

However, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fans, who were waiting for "local lad" R Ashwin to rejoin the team, were left disappointed as the premier off-spinner was snapped up by Kings XI Punjab, who were on a bidding spree in the morning session on Saturday, January 27.

Also read: KKR CEO reveals whey team did not bid for or use RTM for Gautam Gambhir in auction

KXIP opened the bidding for Ashwin, who had picked up 100 wickets in 111 matches for CSK over nine years. CSK joined in and were involved in a tussle with the Preity Zinta co-owned franchise until the price slab reached Rs 4 crore.

With CSK pulling out of the race at Rs 4 crore, Rajasthan Royals entered the fray only to lose to KXIP, who finally managed to get Ashwin for Rs 7.6 crore.

Nonetheless, CSK fans were in for more surprise as the MS Dhoni-led franchise bought veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh at his base price for Rs 2 crore. The 37-year-old was quick to express his delight over joining the new franchise as he took to Twitter to greet CSK fans in Tamil.

Stephen Fleming on why CSK did not push for Ashwin

CSK coach Stephen Fleming maintained that Ashwin was their "first thought" but that they to "cut the cord" once the the price of the 31-year-old went beyond their limit.

"It was [Rs 4 crore ceiling]. We had a feeling that there is going to be a bit more in it. It was a case of cutting the cord and looking at other options. Fortunately for us, other premier off-spinner from India -- Harbhajan Singh was available at a lower price. It worked out," Fleming told Star Sports India on Saturday.

He added: "Ashwin was a big part of CSK. Yes, we first thought about him. It was proven he was going for a lot higher than our budget would have allowed."

Check out these Twitter reactions to Ashwin, Harbhajan state swap at the auction.