Overseas players reap riches in IPL auction
Chris Morris became the most expensive player in IPL history when Rajasthan Royals signed him for Rs 16.25 crore at the IPL auction in Chennai on Thursday.
The Royals, who had Rs 37.85 crore in their kitty, was at the centre of a fierce bidding war with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings.
Before Morris raked in the moolah, Australians Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith had earned hefty pay packets. New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson too benefited from a bidding war.
All this happened on a day when IPL chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed The Telegraph’s report that Vivo would be back as the title sponsors for the 14th edition of the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ biggest catch was Bangladesh’s Shakib-al Hasan whom they again managed to rope in, this time for Rs 3.2 crore. The all-rounder had been an integral part of Knight Riders’ title-winning teams in 2012 and 2014.
The Knights also picked up former India star Harbhajan Singh at his base price of Rs 2 crore after the off-spinner went unsold in the first round of auction.
The Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise — which had his son Aryan and Jahnavi, the daughter of co-owner Jay Mehta and Juhi Chawla, at the auction table — also added Ben Cutting, Karun Nair, Sheldon Jackson, Vekatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi and Vaibhav Arora to their squad.
The bidding surrounding Maxwell was bizarre. With a limited number of players available and some of the franchises overflowing with money, they happily splurged crores on players who have never really proved their worth in franchise cricket.
The bidding for Maxwell began at his base price of Rs 2 crore and quickly spiralled, the Royals, Chennai Super Kings, and Kolkata Knight Riders joining in the battle.
RCB ultimately won the bidding with the CSK to sign the all-rounder for Rs 14.25 crore. It was nearly Rs 4 crore more than what the all-rounder earned from Punjab Kings last season.
Maxwell was a non-performer for the Punjab franchise last season despite his exploits with the Australian T20I and ODI squads. He scored 108 runs from 13 games, failing to hit a single six along the way.
To fill up their only vacant overseas slot CSK finally signed England all-rounder Moeen Ali for Rs 7 crore. CSK also signed Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, out of the IPL since 2014, for Rs 50 lakh.
Punjab Kings also lost out on 6 ft 8 inches New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson after RCB pipped them to the post with a winning bid of Rs 15 crore.
Punjab Kings, however, signed fast bowlers Richardson for Rs 14 crore and Big Bash star Meredith for Rs 8 crore after an intense battle with Delhi Capitals.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians got back Nathan Coulter-Nile for Rs 5 crore while adding New Zealand pacer Adam Milne for Rs 3.2 crore. Piyush Chawla (Rs 2.40 crore) was also added to the squad in a bid to bolster their spin attack.
The Royals picked up Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman too at his base price of Rs 1 crore. RCB came close to bagging Steve Smith, but eventually lost out to Delhi Capitals, who signed him for Rs 2.2 crore. The Delhi franchise also snapped up Tom Curran and Umesh Yadav for Rs 5.25 crore and Rs 1 crore, respectively.
“It was just incredible to get Steve Smith. We are shocked about how he went only for Rs 2.2 crore, but to get a player of the calibre of Steve Smith, it’s going to add a lot to our squad, a lot to our balance,” said Delhi Capitals co-owner Parth Jindal.
Among the Indians, Krishnappa Gowtham became the highest-paid uncapped player in the IPL after CSK got him for Rs 9.25 crore. Tamil Nadu’s Shahrukh Khan, who made an impact in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as a finisher, was signed by Punjab Kings for Rs 5.25 crore.
Late in the day, Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun was picked up by Mumbai Indians at his base price of Rs 20 lakh.