KOLKATA — Australian pacer Pat Cummins Dec. 19 became the most expensive foreign player in the history of Indian Premier League as bowlers and uncapped Indian players ruled the roost in the 13th IPL Auction. 62 players were sold and Rs 140.30 crore was spent.
Cummins, who sits at the top of the bowlers' rankings in Test cricket, was sold for a whopping Rs 15.50 crore to Kolkata Knight Riders. His figures went past England all-rounder Ben Stokes' auction bid of Rs 14.5 crores made at the IPL 2017 auctions. He was also only Rs 50 lakh away from equaling the record for the highest bid ever in the history of IPL auction which was made for Yuvraj Singh by the Delhi Daredevils in 2015.
Cummins has 92 wickets in 77 career T20 matches at an economy of little above 7. His international teammate, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who was not considered for the upcoming ODI series against India in January, returned to Kings XI Punjab for Rs 10.75 crore after a fierce bidding war with Delhi Capitals.
Maxwell, 31, had taken a break from cricket to deal with mental health issues earlier this year.
The future crop of Indian cricketers also made merry as mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy was bagged by KKR for Rs 4 crore. Tamil Nadu's Chakravarthy was the joint-most expensive buy last season but picked up an injury after just one match.
Teenagers Yashasvi Jaiswal and Kartik Tyagi, part of India's U-19 World Cup squad, were sold to Rajasthan Royals for Rs 2.40 crore and Rs 1.30 crore respectively. The Royals also brought back left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat and were given a bit of competition by Kings XI but eventually got him for Rs 3 crore.
Jaiswal, who once sold paani puris for a living, has already grabbed headlines with stunning performances in the domestic circuit. This season, the batsman hit 203 off 154 balls with 12 sixes and 17 boundaries for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy thereby, becoming the youngest batsman to hit a double hundred in List A cricket.
Promising leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi was also roped in by Kings XI for Rs 2 crore while India U-19 captain Priyam Garg went to Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 1.9 crore. SRH also snapped up Virat Singh for the same price.
Among other Indians in the crore club, seasoned leggie Piyush Chawla, who was released by KKR, went for Rs 6.75 crore to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) while experienced Robin Uthappa was bagged by Royals for Rs 3 crore. Uthappa had gone into the auction with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore, the highest for an Indian. He too was released by KKR last month.
"We continue to support young talent and we have managed to get some Indian players into the team as well, with one of them being from Rajasthan in Akash Singh (Rs 20 lakh). We aimed to create a great mix in the side. Recruiting players that we think have amazing potential, and so we've got two Under-19 quicks including Kartik Tyagi, along with experienced players like Robin and Jaydev who are proven match winners at this level," Royals lead owner Manoj Badale said.
The second round of the auction also saw big money being spent on the quicks with Aussie Nathan Coulter-Nile and Sheldon Cottrell going for a lot.
While Mumbai Indians snapped up Coulter-Nile for Rs 8 crore after staving off Chennai Super Kings, Cottrell went to Kings XI Punjab, who had the biggest purse going into the auction (Rs 42.70 crore), after seeing a fierce three-way fight for him between Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals and Kings XI. Cottrell was pouched by Kings XI for Rs 8.5 crore.
"Bowlers are critical in a T20 competition. We had to fill gaps where we needed fast bowlers. We also needed power hitters. That's why we chose Glenn Maxwell," Kings XI director of cricket Anil Kumble told reporters while also announcing KL Rahul as their new skipper.
Among the big hitters, Shimron Hetmyer, was expectedly a sought-after entity for his big-hitting abilities and went to Delhi Capitals for Rs 7.75 crore.
Australia's big-hitting opener Chris Lynn, who was released by KKR, was bought for his base price of Rs 2 crore by defending champions Mumbai Indians, whose opening bid became the winning bid. Similar was the case of seamer Josh Hazlewood, who went for his steep base price of Rs 2 crore to CSK.
Australia's limited-overs captain Aaron Finch went for Rs 4.40 crore to RCB who also roped in Kane Richardson for Rs 4 crore. Dale Steyn was brought back for his base price of Rs 2 crore. England's highly rated Tom Banton was snapped up by KKR for his base price of Rs 1 crore. KKR also invested on 48-year-old Pravin Tambe.
West Indies opener Evin Lewis, pacer Kesrick Williams, Indian Test specialist duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, Aussie leggie Adam Zampa and seasoned Kiwi opener Martin Guptill were among the heavyweight unsold players.