DHAKA  - Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi was the most expensive of a host of international stars sold at the inaugural auction for the new Bangladesh Premier League on Thursday as he fetched $700,000.

The former Pakistani captain hit the jackpot in a secret bidding process after he became the target of all six teams in the Twenty20 cricket tournament to be held next month.

"Shahid Afridi was bought for $700,000 dollars, the highest in the BPL auction, by our team Dhaka Gladiators," team spokesman Minhaz Khan told AFP.

Hard-hitting West Indies batsman Chris Gayle was sold to Barisal Burners for $551,100 and his compatriot Marlon Samuels to Duronto Rajshahi for $360,000, according to live telecast by private Channel 9 Television.

The BPL is the Bangladeshi answer to IPL, which revolutionised cricket when it burst on to the scene in 2008 with a high-octane blend of star players.