The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 auction has always been known for throwing up surprises. From uncapped youngsters going for big money to prominent names being snapped up at measly base prices or going unsold altogether, the average Indian cricket fan has seen it all.
Thursday’s auction at the ITC Royal Bengal Hotel in Kolkata was a similar affair in many ways. New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham went for ₹50 lakh (base price) to Kings XI Punjab, even as players like Tim Southee, Adam Zampa and Liam Plunkett failed to get any takers.
Here we list out the top five most expensive buys (in ascending order):
5. Nathan Coulter-Nile
Sold for: ₹8 crore
Franchise: Mumbai Indians
The Australians made merry at the auctions yet again and Nathan Coulter-Nile, who set himself a base price of ₹1 crore, returned to Mumbai Indians after six years, for a whopping ₹8 crore.
4. Sheldon Cottrell
Sold for: ₹8.5 crore
Franchise: Kings XI Punjab
Sheldon Cottrell was one of the trending names before the auctions commenced. The West Indian pacer was expected to trigger a bidding war, and so he did, between Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab before Delhi Capitals made it a three-way race. However, KXIP had the final laugh.
Cottrell made a splash in the World Cup in England, emerging as West Indies’ highest wicket-taker, with 12 wickets in nine games at an economy rate of 5.85.
3. Chris Morris
Sold for: ₹10 crore
Franchise: Royal Challengers Bangalore
Proteas speedster Chris Morris might have made news, pocketing a big sum of ₹10 crore, but the news didn’t go down well with many. Former New Zealand cricketer Simon Doull, for instance, tweeted saying RCB used up ‘stupid money’ to get Morris.
Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians to acquire Morris’ services.
Prior to the auction, Morris had an unimpressive outing in the Mzansi Super League (MSL). He managed to pick only 10 wickets from 11 games at an economy of 8.20 and scored 122 runs at a strike-rate of 176.
2. Glenn Maxwell
Sold for: ₹10.75 crore
Franchise: Kings XI Punjab
Glenn Maxwell, who recently made news for taking a break from international cricket owing to mental health issue, returned to Kings XI Punjab, after having played for them from 2014 to 2017.
Maxwell was one of the biggest buys in the 2013 auctions. He began with a base price of $200,000, and was finally bought by Mumbai Indians for a whopping $1 million.
Despite a strike-rate of 161.3 in the IPL, Maxwell has been inconsistent with the bat. But his ability to clear the rope in crunch situations makes him a solid candidate.
The right-arm off-breaks are likely to come handy too.
1. Pat Cummins
Sold for: ₹15.5 crore
Franchise: Kolkata Knight Riders
Australia pacer Pat Cummins took the auction by storm when he became the most expensive foreign signing in the history of the T20 league, surpassing England all-rounder Ben Stokes.
In IPL 2017, Stokes was signed for Rs 14.5 crore by the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant.
Cummins — who returned to Kolkata Knight Riders for a jaw-dropping Rs 15.5 crore — is also the second most expensive player in the history of the IPL auction, after Yuvraj Singh, who was signed by the then Delhi Daredevils for Rs 16 crore in 2015.
This time, Delhi Capitals pushed the bid to Rs 2.4 crore. Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi were locked in a bidding war. The bid swiftly soared past 5 crore, with RCB in the lead briefly at 5.25 crore.
Cummins eventually returned to KKR.
Primarily a fast bowler, the Aussie can go hard at the bowlers with the bat. He enjoys a strike-rate of 140.00 in the IPL.
The last time Cummins featured in the IPL, in 2017, he claimed 15 wickets for the Daredevils. However, an injury ruled him out of action for Mumbai Indians in the 2018 season and he was released before the following year’s auction.