Australian players fetched big prices in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on Thursday with paceman Pat Cummins becoming the most expensive international player after he went to Kolkata Knight Riders for $2.17 million.
Glenn Maxwell moved to Kings XI Punjab for $1.51 million after making a comeback to cricket from a brief break as a result of mental health problems. At the annual IPL auction, that held before the beginning of each season, teams buys players who sign central deals.
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A player get about 75 percent of the auction price, which becomes their salary for the entire season, while 25 percent goes to the national board.
The auction saw Cummins initiating the highest bidding fight. Bangalore and Delhi Capitals both upped the ante before Kolkata swooped in for their former player, who has claimed 32 wickets in 25 IPL matches.
“Absolutely pumped to be back on board … Can’t wait to get over there,” Cummins said in a video message posted on Kolkata’s official Twitter site.
Although it was best for an international player, the price paid for Cummins is still short of the 160 million rupees ($2.3 million) that Bangalore paid for Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh in 2015.
Kolkata’s new coach and former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum was elated to get “the best player of the auction”, but insisted India’s Dinesh Karthik will remain captain for the two-time champions.
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There were other big international buys like South Africa bowler Chris Morris for ($1.4m to Royal Challengers Bangalore), West Indies quick Sheldon Cottrell ($1.19m to Punjab) and Aussie quick Nathan Coulter-Nile ($1.12m to current champions Mumbai Indians).
Then, West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer ($1.08m to Delhi), England’s World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan ($734,265 to Knight Riders) and Australia limited-overs captain Aaron Finch ($619,303 to Bangalore).
Maxwell stepped up from his 20 million rupees base price to re-unite with his former team. “He has the capacity to really blast through on a good day,” Punjab chief executive Satish Menon said.
“He is the only guy we see as ‘X factor’ in the middle-order which we lack very badly. We couldn’t have thought anyone better than him. He knows the ground, the Kings XI Punjab the way it has been.” Menon added after the buy.
According to records, Maxwell scored 1,397 runs in the IPL at an average of 22.9 at a rapid strike rate of 161.13. Meanwhile, Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla amounted the highest Indian buy for $949,100 to Chennai Super Kings who also bought England allrounder Sam Curran for $773,340.
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A lot of India’s big names in the game are already attached to franchises, while a good number of newcomers scooped lucrative deals such as uncapped batsman Virat Singh who climbed up from his normal price of $28,000 to take $267,000 from Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The IPL, which faced a spot-fixing scandal in 2013, has become the world’s wealthiest league in the sporting field, with the tournament replicated by other nations such as Australia.