South-African all-rounder Chris Morris became the costliest player in the history of Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on Thursday, February 18, when Rajasthan Royals snapped him up for Rs 16.25 crore.
The 33-year-old was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore after the IPL 2020 season. Earlier, Yuvraj Singh was the costliest-ever buy in auction history as he was bought for Rs 16 crore by Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2015. Following the former India all-rounder are Pat Cummins (Rs 15.5 crore, 2020) and Ben Stokes (14.5 crore, 2017).
Morris has played 70 IPL matches for 80 wickets at an economy of 7.81, apart from 551 runs at a strike rate above 157.
New Zealand’s towering fast bowler Kyle Jamieson was picked by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 15 crore, Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, always a “big show” in the league, was also bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 14.25 crore, and Jhye Richardson was bought by Punjab Kings for Rs 14 crore.
On going all out for Morris, Royals’s director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara said: “It was quite a high price, but at the same time, the role in the team and the demand for the role plays a large part.”
Overall, the eight franchises spent Rs 145.30 crore combined for 57 players (22 overseas).
But, on the flip side, the day started with three top international players, including a Test triple centurion, going unsold. There were no takers in the initial rounds for Jason Roy, Alex Hales and Karun Nair, even as the some surprise picks grabbed mega deals. Nair was eventually picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 50 lakh, and one of the surprises was Cheteshwar Pujara, arguably India’s most pedigreed Test batsman who has not played in the tournament since 2014, who was bought by Chennai Super Kings for his base price of Rs 50 lakh.
There was a windfall for several uncapped players too. Karnataka’s spin bowling all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham, who has featured for Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians in the past, bagged Rs 9.25 crore from Chennai Super Kings, 46 times more than his base price of Rs 20 lakh. It is the highest bid ever for an uncapped player, surpassing Krunal Pandya (Rs 8.8 crore by Mumbai Indians in 2018).
The most expected big buy of the day, however, was Shahrukh Khan, a Tamil Nadu all-rounder with no experience in the IPL. After an impressive performance at the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, there was an intense bidding war over Khan between Punjab Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore — he finally went to the former for Rs 5.25 crore.
All-rounders were high on every team’s agenda at the auction. Apart from Morris and Maxwell, the others who grabbed high values were Moeen Ali (CSK, Rs 7 crore), Tom Curran (Delhi Capitals, Rs 5.25 crore), Shakib Al Hasan (KKR Rs 3.20 crore) and Moises Henriques (PK, Rs 4.20 crore).
The 2021 IPL is expected to start in April, though a venue is yet to be decided.
Kings XI Punjab changes its name to Punjab Kings
Kings XI Punjab has formally changed its name to Punjab Kings ahead of the Indian Premier League auction.
In a statement on Wednesday, the franchise said: “We are much more than a team, but a family which has come together and built a connect with our fans through our relentless hard work. The new brand logo and name are an extension to our undying spirit of fighting against all odds and celebrating the true spirit of Punjab.”