Pat Cummins became the most expensive overseas player in Indian Premier League history on Thursday when the Australian was bought at auction by the Kolkata Knight Riders for 15.5 crore ($2.1 million).
After a relatively frugal auction last year—because many top players were unavailable as a result of international commitments—the money was flowing ahead of the 2020 IPL season.
Like Cummins, Glenn Maxwell and Chris Morris also hit the 10 crore-mark.
Here's a look at some of the highest winning bids:
- Pat Cummins, Kolkata Knight Riders, 15.5 crore
- Glenn Maxwell, Kings XI Punjab, 10.75 crore
- Chris Morris, Royal Challengers Bangalore, 10 crore
- Sheldon Cottrell, Kings XI Punjab, 8.5 crore
- Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mumbai Indians, 8 crore
- Shimron Hetmyer, Delhi Capitals, 7.75 crore
- Piyush Chawla, Chennai Super Kings, 6.75 crore
- Sam Curran, Chennai Super Kings, 5.5 crore
- Eoin Morgan, Kolkata Knight Riders, 5.25 crore
The IPL's full list of sold and unsold players can be found here.
(*one crore/100 lakh = $140,000, 10 crore = $1.4 million)
Reigning champions Mumbai Indians kicked off proceedings by securing the first purchase of the day, signing Chris Lynn for the power-hitting Australian's base price of 2 crore.
Soon after, England's ODI World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan—who hasn't competed in the IPL since 2017, when he played for Kings XI Punjab—was snapped up by Kolkata, where the left-hander played between 2011 and 2013.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle thought it was a shrewd move from KKR:
Maxwell became the first millionaire of the 2020 auction when he went back to Kings XI Punjab for more than double Morgan's price, after they won a bidding war with the Delhi Capitals.
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata had similar reactions to the purchase:
According to cricket statistician Sampath Bandarupalli, over the course of his IPL career, Maxwell has earned around 31 crores at auction, the biggest cumulative total of any overseas player.
The Australian most recently turned out for Delhi in 2018, but he played for Punjab from 2014-17. In 69 matches in the IPL, the all-rounder has produced 1,397 runs and 16 wickets.
Per Cricbuzz, Punjab CEO Satish Menin said:
"Maxwell was someone who was very much on our radar. We needed that X-factor player in our line up.
"He has been with us in the past so he knows our exact layout. We've done a lot of tracking on him.
"We certainly wanted him and that slot had to be filled at any cost. He has the capacity to really blast on a good day."
Maxwell's price exceeded the top bids from last year—8.4 crore was spent on both Varun Chakravarthy and Jaydev Unadkat—but he was soon overtaken by compatriot Cummins.
Bangalore and Delhi had been bidding back-and-forth on the 26-year-old before Kolkata made a late swoop to snatch him up.
One of the world's top-ranked fast bowlers, Cummins played for KKR in 2014. In 2017 he turned out for Delhi, while the following year he was bought at auction by Mumbai but missed the entire season with a back injury.
His price saw him come close to matching Yuvraj Singh's all-time record of 16 crore, which was set in 2015 by Delhi.
Sports writer Chetan Narula felt it unwise to bid so heavily for him:
He is eagerly anticipating his return to Kolkata, though:
Morris became the third millionaire of the day when he went to the Royal Challengers for 10 crore.
ESPNcricinfo's Sreshth Shah offered some insight into his move:
The South African has taken 69 wickets and 517 runs from 61 Indian Premier League matches.
Unadkat, who was the joint-most expensive player in 2019 and went for 11.5 crore in 2018, saw his value fall again as the left-handed quick went for just 3 crore. Chakravarthy fared a little better, moving to KKR for 4 crore.
The 2020 IPL season, which will be the 13th edition of the competition, will begin in April.