Australian cricketer Pat Cummins became the second-most expensive player in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after he was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Rs 15.5 crore during an auction held in Kolkata on Thursday. A total of 62 players were sold in the auction. This was out of a pool of 332 players in the race for 73 slots in eight IPL teams. The total money spent was Rs 140.3 crore.
Cummins, co-vice-captain of the Australian national cricket team in all formats, found himself at the centre of a bidding war involving Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and KKR. He is not only expected to add depth to KKR’s bowling side, but also likely to chip in with his batting skills lower down the order, according to cricket experts.
The 26-year-old fast bowler, ranked the number one in Test cricket, now stands marginally behind Yuvraj Singh, who was signed for an all-time high amount of Rs 16 crore in 2015 by then franchise Delhi Daredevils. Cummins also broke the record of English all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was bought by Rising Pune Supergiants in 2017 for Rs 14.5 crore, to become the most expensive foreign player in IPL.
Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who was not considered for the upcoming ODI series against India, returned to Kings XI Punjab with a price tag of Rs 10.75 crore after an intense bidding war with Delhi Capitals. KXIP went into the auction with the biggest available purse of Rs 42.70 crore. Both Maxwell and Cummins had opted out of the last year's IPL.
Besides Cummins and Maxwell, Chris Morris, Sheldon Cottrell, and Nathan Coulter-Nile were picked up for Rs 10 crore (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Rs 8.5 crore (KXIP), and Rs 8 crore (Mumbai Indians), respectively.
A total of 186 Indian players and 143 overseas players were put up for auction, of which Piyush Chawla emerged the most expensive Indian buy of the day. He was picked up for Rs 6.75 crore by Chennai Super Kings.
Robin Uthappa and Jaydev Unadkat were picked up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 3 crore each.
Among other interesting buys was England team captain Eoin Morgan, who was picked up for Rs 5.25 crore by KKR, while cricketers Kane Richardson and Aaron Finch headed to Royal Challengers Bangalore at Rs 4 and Rs 4.4 crore each.
Some Indian cricketers who didn’t find takers on Thursday included Yusuf Pathan and Cheteshwar Pujara. While foreign players Dale Steyn, Adam Zampa, and Colin De Grandhomme also failed to attract any bidders.