The Indian Premier League (IPL) gears up for another mega auction with two new bidders – in the form of the two newly inducted franchises – in the fray.
With stars such as KL Rahul, David Warner and Rashid Khan slated to go under the hammer, the 2022 IPL auction is set for heated bidding wars as teams scramble to assemble a title-winning line-up.
Here is a look at the top five most expensive buys in the history of the league.
Chris Morris – INR 16.25 Crore
Chris Morris became the most expensive acquisition in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) when Rajasthan Royals secured his services at the IPL 2021 mini-auction. The South African was the subject of a fierce bidding war which saw his value soar from a base price of INR 75 lakh to a whopping 16.25 crore.
The all-rounder was the leading wicket-taker for the Royals in the season that followed, scalping 15 in 11 matches but had a poor run with the bat, scoring only 67 runs while averaging 13.40. With plenty of experience and exposure to T20 leagues across the world, Morris might find a new home after he was released by the Jaipur-based franchise.
Yuvraj Singh – INR 16 Crore
The flamboyant left-hander was roped in by Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) ahead of the 2015 season for a record-breaking INR 16 crore, just a year after Royal Challengers Bangalore made a successful bid of INR 14 Crore for him. However, Yuvraj failed to repay the faith, scoring 248 runs at a paltry average of 19.07 and striking at a lacklustre 118.09.
The all-rounder was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 7 crore in 2016 and had a couple of decent seasons with the team, scoring 488 runs in 22 matches and averaging a significantly better 27.11. A disastrous stint with his home team Kings XI Punjab followed, where he averaged 10.83 and struck at a dismal 89.04. The world cup champion signed off from the league in 2019 on a high, scoring a sizzling half-century on debut for the title-winning Mumbai Indians.
Pat Cummins – INR 15.5 Crore
The lanky Australia pacer took the IPL by storm in 2020, when Kolkata Knight Riders broke the bank on him and secured his services for a whopping INR 15.5 crore, making him the most expensive overseas acquisition the league had seen. Cummins lived up to the billing, picking up 12 wickets for KKR and contributing with the bat in the lower-order, including a quick-fire fifty batting at number 7.
The 28-year-old started his 2021 IPL campaign with promise, spearheading the KKR pace attack with nine wickets from seven matches and smashing an unbeaten 34-ball 66 against Chennai Super Kings in a losing cause. However, he pulled out of the UAE leg of the event because of the impending birth of his child and was subsequently not retained by his franchise for IPL 2022. The newly appointed Australia Test captain heads into the auction pool high on confidence and a T20 World Cup title on his resume.
Kyle Jamieson – INR 15 Crore
The towering Kiwi was the second most expensive player at the 2021 IPL auctions, with Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore taking him in its fold for a staggering INR 15 crore. Jamieson’s exploits early in his Test career – 36 wickets at 13.27 – ensured that the 26-year-old took home 20 times his base price of INR 75 lakh. Coming off a dream ODI debut against India and boasting of the best bowling figures (6/7) by a New Zealander in T20s, Jamieson was set to light up the marquee T20 league. However, the pacer saw patchy returns, with nine wickets from as many games and was expensive with an economy of 9.60. After a couple of poor performances in the UAE leg of the tournament, Jamieson was dropped for the remainder of the season and failed to make RCB’s retention cut.
Ben Stokes – INR 14.5 Crore
The talismanic England all-rounder more than justified his price tag of INR 14.5 crores with a stellar 2017 season for Rising Pune Supergiant. He amassed 316 runs while striking at 142.98 and smashed a match-winning 63-ball hundred. His all-rounder brilliance meant he also took 12 wickets at 7.18 runs an over in his team’s run to the final. Thus, it was not surprising when Stokes stole the succeeding auction too, with Rajasthan Royals bagging him for 12.5 crore for the 2018 season.
However, Stokes was a shadow of his old self in the three seasons that followed, exhibiting glimpses of his talent in bursts but steering clear of a sustained run of good form. After his 2021 IPL campaign ended abruptly due to a broken finger sustained in the Royals’ season-opener, Stokes took a mental health break and missed the subsequent T20 World Cup too. With the Royals excluding him from their retention list, the 30-year-old heads back to the auction pool for yet another crack at the league.