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MS Dhoni to Pat Cummins – Most Expensive Player in Each IPL Auction

Each year, the Indian Premier League is preceded by its auctions, which are as exciting as the tournament itself. Over the years, a lot of heart-warming stories, especially those of rags to riches, have emerged from the auctions. Billions of money is spent in buying players for each of the eight franchises. Here we take a look at the most expensive buy in each of the 14 IPL auctions held so far.

IPL 2008 – MS Dhoni to CSK – INR 9.5 crore

Just a year after leading India to the 2007 T20 World Cup title, MS Dhoni was at his prime and one of the most sought after players in the world. It was thus no surprise that he was the most expensive player in the inaugural edition of the auctions, where Chennai Super Kings bought him for INR 9.5 crore, which also turned out to be their most profitable buy over the years.

That season, Dhoni scored 414 runs including two half-centuries, while also leading the side to the final, where they eventually lost to the Rajasthan Royals.

In his overall IPL career, Dhoni has played 211 matches, scoring 4669 runs at a strike rate of over 136, including 23 fifties.

IPL 2009 – Kevin Pietersen to RCB and Andrew Flintoff to Chennai Super Kings – INR 9.8 crore

Two star players from England – Flintoff and Pietersen bagged twin Rs. 9.8 crore contracts, but both weren’t able to repay the investment to their respective franchises.

Flintoff failed to do anything substantial for Chennai Super Kings. That season, he scored 62 runs from three games at a strike rate of 116, and wasn’t impressive with the ball too, having picked just two wickets at an economy of 9.54. He couldn’t player longer than three games that season due to an injury, and that was also his first and last season in the IPL.

As for Pietersen, he scored only 93 runs in six innings for Royal Challengers Bangalore and was also removed from captaincy mid-season. Overall, he played 36 IPL games, scoring 1001 runs at a strike rate of 134.72 including one century and four fifties.

IPL 2010 – Shane Bond to Kolkata Knight Riders and Kieron Pollard to Mumbai Indians – INR 4.8 crore

Shane Bond (KKR) and Kieron Pollard (MI) were bought by their respective franchise at INR 4.8 crore at the 2010 auctions. Bond picked up nine wickets that season at an economy of 7.23. But for a player of his stature, he could have done better. The following year, the pacer retired from all forms of cricket.

As for Pollard, he went on to become one of Mumbai’s most reliable all-rounders and the partnership continues till date. In his first IPL season, Pollard scored 273 runs at a strike rate of 185.71 and picked up 15 wickets. All in all, he has so far played 171 IPL matches, scoring 3157 runs at a strike rate of 149.57, including 16 half-centuries. As a right-arm bowler, he has picked 63 wickets at an average of 32.03.

2011 – Gautam Gambhir to Kolkata Knight Riders – INR 4.8 crore

Gautam Gambhir was sold to KKR in 2011, a decision which paid rich dividends. Not only did he score truckload of runs at the top that season and also the following seasons, he also led the team to two trophies in 2012 and 2014 respectively. In his first season with KKR, Gambhir scored 378 runs and overall in the IPL, he played 154 games, scoring 4217 runs including 36 half-centuries.

2012 – Ravindra Jadeja to Chennai Super Kings – INR 12.8 crore

At the 2012 auctions, Jadeja was the most expensive buy after being bought for CSK at INR 12.8 crore. Over the years, the all-rounder became indispensable to the team and the association between the two runs till date. In his first season for CSK, Jadeja scored 191 runs from 19 games and picked up 12 wickets at an economy of 7.80. Overall, he has played 191 IPL games, scoring 2290 runs and picking up 120 wickets.

2013 – Glenn Maxwell to Mumbai Indians – INR 6.3 crore

In 2013, Maxwell was bought by Mumbai Indians for INR 5.3 crore, but played only three games due to an already balanced side. Of those three games, he scored 36 runs, and was subsequently released the next year. All in all, the explosive batsman has played 89 IPL games, scoring 1728 runs at a strike rate of 153, including eight fifties.

2014 – Yuvraj Singh to Royal Challengers Bangalore – INR 14 crore

In 2014, Yuvraj was acquired by RCB for 14.5 crore and the all-rounders returns were decent. He scored 376 runs from 14 games and also picked up five wickets. But the next year, he was bought by the Delhi franchise, and became the most expensive player at the auctions for the second successive time.

2015 – Yuvraj Singh to Delhi Capitals – INR 16 crore

For the second time in a row, Yuvraj was the most expensive purchase at the IPL auctions. Delhi bought him for INR 16 crore, but the all-rounder underperformed, with just 248 runs and one wicket from 14 games, and was subsequently axed. Overall, Yuvraj has 2750 runs and 36 wickets from 132 IPL matches.

2016 – Shane Watson to Royal Challengers Bangalore – INR 9.5 crore

Shane Watson became the most expensive player at the 2016 auctions, which was the same year he retired from international cricket. While he wasn’t at his best with the bat, he picked up 20 wickets that season. Overall, he has 3874 runs and 92 wickets from 145 IPL matches.

2017 – Ben Stokes to Rising Pune Supergiant – INR 14.5 crore

Expectations were high from the England all-rounder after he was bought by Pune for a mammoth INR 14.5 crore. He did repay the faith, scoring 316 runs and picking up 12 wickets. Add to that some stunning piece of fielding every now and then. All in all, the mega star has 920 runs and 28 wickets from 43 IPL matches.

2018 – Ben Stokes to Rajasthan Royals – INR 12.5 crore

After the Pune franchise winded up in 2017, Stokes was in high demand. He was acquired by Rajasthan, an association that is still going strong. That season, Stokes 196 runs and grabbed eight wickets from 13 games.

2019 – Jaydev Unadkat to Rajasthan Royals and Varun Chakravarthy to Punjab Kings – INR 8.4 crore

After impressing in the 2017 season, where he picked 24 wickets, Unadkat was bought by the Rajasthan Royals for the 2018 season, but was released the next year. However, he was again bought at the auctions for 2019 – for INR 8.4 crore, but he couldn’t deliver, picking only 10 wickets at an economy of over 10. He still plays for the same team. Overall, the pacer has 85 wickets from 84 IPL games.

The joint most expensive player in 2019 was spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who went to the Punjab team. But after giving away 35 runs in one game, he wasn’t picked in the XI for the rest of the season. At present, Chakravarthy plays for KKR and all in all has 25 wickets from 21 games.

2020 – Pat Cummins to Kolkata Knight Riders – INR 15.5 crore

Australia’s Pat Cummins grabbed headlines in 2020 after being bought by KKR for INR 15.5 crore, becoming the season’s most expensive buy. He picked up 12 wickets in 14 games at an economy of 7.68 and was retained for the 2021 season, where he picked up nine wickets in seven games before the season was postponed indefinitely due to Covid19.

2021 – Chris Morris to Rajasthan Royals – INR 16.25 crore

The South African all-rounder was the biggest buy at the 2021 auction, but didn’t get a chance to repay the faith to the fullest as IPL 2021 was postponed after one month of play. In seven games, though, he 14 wickets and scored 48 runs. All in all, he has 599 runs and 94 wickets from 77 IPL games.

Umaima Saeed
A writer who primarily writes on cricket. As of 2021, she has covered cricket for more than a dozen publications.

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