Fee in 2011: Kochi Tuskers Kerala, $200,000
Fee in 2014: Rajasthan Royals $666,000
Steve Smith's arrival on the IPL scene, just like the Test cricket scene in general, was something of a false dawn.
He was signed by Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011 for $200,000, having made his Australia debut the previous summer. But injury put paid to that season, and his Test career also hit the skids.
During the ongoing South Africa vs. Australia Test series Smith, now a fixture of the Baggy Greens, admitted in a press conference I attended that his Test debut probably came before he was ready—and perhaps the same was true of his IPL career.
But that has all changed now. He made his name in the IPL during 2012 and 2013 as a late call-up for Mitchell Marsh at the Pune Warriors (the Kochi team had been disbanded at the end of 2011, and Smith had gone unsold in the 2012 auction), and then in 2013 he established himself firmly in the Australia team.
The combination of his brisk batting, his sharp fielding and his occasional leg-spin enticed the Rajasthan Royals to shell out $666,000 for him in the auction, more than trebling his last auction price.