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Who is the Most Expensive Player in IPL History?

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is inarguably the biggest domestic T20 competition in the world. Every year for a couple of months stars from all over the globe descend to take part in the extravaganza that is IPL. While the tournament has provided fans with unlimited entertainment over the years, it also has become a great source of revenue for the players.

The IPL is valued at half a billion dollars and for good reason. With the kind of money flowing in, the players are also handsomely rewarded. Every IPL auction we hear of some player going for crores of rupees. In addition, there are retentions also in place where a franchise can keep a certain player at a price.

Here, we take a look at the most expensive player in the history of IPL.

Virat Kohli – 17 Crore in 2020
Team: Royal Challengers Bangalore

It comes as no surprise that Virat Kohli leads the charts as the most expensive player in IPL. He has played for only one team in IPL – Royal Challengers Bangalore – and has been a rock for them since 2008. Before the IPL 2020 auctions, franchises had the option of retaining players and Royal Challengers Bangalore retained Kohli for a whopping 17 cr, making him the most expensive player in a single edition of IPL. 

Holding back Kohli was almost a no-brainer for Bangalore. The 32-year-old is the highest run scorer in the history of IPL with 5878 runs in 192 matches which includes 39 half-centuries and five hundreds. It seems like a long way since Kohli was recruited by Bangalore back in 2008 for a mere 20 Lakhs. However, since then he has transformed himself into one of the best batsmen in world cricket across formats which makes Kohli’s price his price tag completely justifiable. The IPL trophy though still remains elusive and Kohli will want to lay his hands over it come 2021.

Yuvraj Singh – 16 Crore in 2015
Team: Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals)

Hero of India’s 2011 World Cup win, Yuvraj Singh was fetched by Delhi Daredevils for a whopping 16 cr in a fierce bidding war at the IPL 2015 auctions. At the time this had made Yuvraj Singh the most expensive player in IPL history.

The price tag certainly came as a surprise as Yuvraj was well past his prime in 2015 and not a part of the Indian set up. He did not quite justify the price scoring just 247 runs in 13 innings at an average of 19.07. Yuvrj over the years has been an X-factor player for India and in the IPL which is why a lot of get teams go for him each time.

In 2014, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had bought Yuvraj for 14 cr and he responded with some crucial runs that seasons. After the Delhi stint, Yuvraj was purchased by Sunrisers Hyderabad, where he stayed for two seasons and 2017. While the consistency was missing, the left-hander showed he still had the class as he came up with a few crucial innings. He was part of the SRH side that won the IPL in 2016 too.

Yuvraj announced his retirement from all forms of the game in 2019.

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Pat Cummins – 15.5 Crore in 2020
Team: Kolkata Knight Riders

Australians have generally done well at IPL auctions but at the IPL 2020 auctions Pat Cummins shattered a few records. The pacer was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for a massive 15.5 cr, making him the costliest foreign buy in the history of the IPL.

The deal was on expected lines though. Cummins had been the golden boy of world cricket for a while and as soon as he entered his name for the auctions, takers lined up. Cummins’ pace coupled with his immaculate line and length is what sets him apart. Even in the T20 format, bowlers such as him are of high value.

Cummins fetched more than ten times his base price of 1.5 cr. The fight for him was between two sides, KKR and RCB, and both teams were unrelenting. Eventually it was KKR who fetched Cummins. The pacer did not quite have the season he was hoping for as he returned just 12 wickets in 14 outings at an average of 34.08.

The surfaces in UAE also did not help Cummins in any way. He will be hoping for better returns when the IPL carnival moves to India in 2021.

MS Dhoni – 15 Crore in 2020
Team: Chennai Super Kings

Having led Chennai Super  Kings in every season they have played, MS Dhoni was retained by the franchise for INR 15 cr in IPL 2020. Dhoni has led CSK to three IPL titles and bar IPL 2020 they have reached the playoffs in every season.

Dhoni has played 174 matches for CSK and scored 4058 runs averaging 42.72, which includes 21 half-centuries. He is the marquee player for CSK and has been all these years. Even in the inaugural season of IPL, Dhoni was the costliest player going for 1.5 million USD. He has since seen his stocks rise and how. In fact, Dhoni recently became the first player to earn 150 cr only through his IPL salary package.

Dhoni played for Rising Pune Supergiant for two years but as soon as CSK came back after their ban, he switched. IPL 2020 did not do any favours to Dhoni but he made it loud and clear that there is no way he is retiring any time soon.

Rohit Sharma – 15 Crore in 2020
Team: Mumbai Indians

The man who has led Mumbai Indians to a record five IPL titles, the franchise retaining him was a no-brainer. Right before the IPL 2020 auctions, Mumbai retained Rohit for 15 crore.

Rohit has reformed himself as a T20 icon since he came on-board the Mumbai train. For the franchise, he has scored 4060 runs in 15 matches averaging 31.47. This includes 31 half-centuries and a century.

The 33-year-old has been a revelation even in international cricket and lot of the credit should go to the IPL.  Rohit is one of the most expensive players at the IPL and he surely deserves every bit of the tag.

There are a few more players that have gone for a lot of money in a single season. Rising Pune Supergiant bid 14.5 crore for Ben Stokes in IPL 2017.  Jaydev Unadkat was bought by Rajasthan Royals for 11.50 crore in the IPL 2018 auctions. Glenn Maxwell was brought for 10.5 crore by Kings XI Punjab in the IPL 2020 auctions. Who do you think will get the highest amount in the IPL 2021 auction?

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Ashish Pant
A fantasy gaming enthusiast, gaming writer and an out and out cricket nerd. I am an engineer by education who found his solace in writing.

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