The likes of Chris Morris, Kyle Jamieson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, K Gowtham and a few more had an auction to remember on Thursday (February 18) as the franchises paid hefty amounts of money to acquire their services for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League. South African all-rounder Chris Morris on Friday surpassed Yuvraj Singh to become the most expensive buy in the IPL auction history with Rajasthan Royals shelling out Rs 16.25 crore for his services.
It was mostly the all-rounders and overseas pacers who fetched the big bucks at this year's auction. Morris, who came with a base price of Rs 75 lakh, generated bids from four teams before it became a battle between Rajasthan and Punjab Kings. The costliest player in the IPL remains Virat Kohli, retained for Rs 17 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
In 70 IPL games, Morris has scored 551 runs at 23.95 and taken 80 wickets at 23.98. Talking about why Royals went all out on Morris, team COO Jake Luch McCrum said: "Chris is an ex -Royal, and he's one of those players with experience and who can deal with a price tag like that. We've re-balanced the side this year, he will fill in an important role for us."
Meanwhile, Gowtham was bought for a record Rs 9.25 crore by the Chennai Super Kings, becoming the most expensive uncapped player in the history of IPL. Tamil Nadu's Shahrukh Khan expectedly got a handsome Rs 5.25 crore deal from Punjab, more than 51 times his base price of Rs 20 lakh. Shahrukh has been in the limelight with his exploits in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he played a couple of match-winning cameos down the order.
Despite having a horrible last season, Maxwell managed to attract a winning Rs 14.25 crore bid from Royal Challengers Bangalore. The all-rounder attracted bids from Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan, Bangalore and Chennai. Maxwell only scored 108 runs at an average of 15.42 last season and didn't hit a single six. "We wanted to get an X-factor player and we are delighted to get Maxwell," RCB Director of Cricket Mike Hesson said.
New Zealand pacer Jamieson, who is known more for his performances in Test cricket, secured a massive Rs 15 crore deal from Bangalore. RCB got two players for more than 14 crore. Chennai were applauded by other teams in the room for buying India's Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara for his base price of Rs 50 lakh, paving the way for his IPL return for the first time since 2014. England all-rounder Moeen Ali also went for a high price of Rs 7 crore to Chennai.
Punjab, who went into the auction with the maximum purse among eight teams, paid Rs 14 crore to rope in Australian pacer Richardson hoping he will plug the gap in their leaking bowling department. The 24-year-old, who has played two Tests, 13 ODIs and nine T20Is for Australia, was the leading wicket-taker in the last edition of Big Bash League. Punjab also paid a big amount, Rs 8 crore, for another Australian pacer, Riley Meredith, making him the costliest uncapped foreign player in the IPL history.
Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan was lapped up by KKR for Rs 3.2 crore. He missed the IPL last year as he was serving a ban for failing to report a corrupt approach. The all-rounder however is not expected to be available for the entire tournament. Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile also ended up with a good deal, fetching a Rs 5 crore bid from his previous team Mumbai Indians.
Former Australian captain Steve Smith, who was released by Rajasthan Royals, was bought by Delhi Capitals for Rs 2.20 crore, only Rs 20 lakh more than his base price. At his base price of Rs 1.5 crore, England batsman Dawid Malan was a bargain buy for Punjab. Australia's 37-year-old all-rounder Dan Christian triggered an inexplicable bidding war before going to Bangalore for Rs 4.8 crore, way above his base price of Rs 75 lakh.
Seasoned Indians Harbhajan Singh (Rs 2 crore) and Karun Nair (Rs 50 lakh) found a buyer in Kolkata Knight Riders in the final round after going unsold initially. The last player to be sold at the auction was the legendary Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun, a fast bowler finding his feet at the domestic level for now. The 21-year-old was picked up by his father's erstwhile franchise Mumbai. It was hardly a surprise given that he has been a net bowler for the franchise for the past two-three seasons.
The likes of Mohammed Azharuddeen (RCB) and Chetan Sakariya (RR) also managed to attract bids. Among the players who remained unsold were Hanuma Vihari, Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Adil Rashid, and Aaron Finch.
With inputs from PTI.