Australia fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have become the most expensive players ever sold at the Indian Premier League auction, smashing the record held by England all-rounder Sam Curran.
Starc has not played in the IPL since 2015 and the left-arm quick’s return to the fray drew a bidding war that ended in an unprecedented bid of £2.34million (24.75 crore rupees) from Kolkata Knight Riders.
Cummins had earlier been picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for just under £2million (20.5 crore), with both fees eclipsing the £1.77m Punjab Kings paid for Curran last year. Starc and Cummins had both signed up with a base price of less than £200,000.
Cummins is making his comeback to the tournament after a one-year absence to focus on his international commitments, during which he has captained Australia to glory in the World Test Championship and 50-over World Cup on Indian soil.
While those successes placed a premium on the available Australian talent, England’s terrible World Cup campaign saw their stock fall on the trading floor in Dubai.
Veteran Chris Woakes landed a deal worth a fraction under £400,000 as he joined team-mates Curran and Liam Livingstone at Punjab Kings, while Harry Brook was snapped up for around £380,000 by Delhi Capitals.
Brook had been released after one season of a £1.3m deal with Sunrisers and the Yorkshireman settled for a healthy but much-reduced payday.
He hit one superb century in his first IPL campaign but was otherwise badly short of runs with just 190 in 11 matches.
Sunrisers also splurged on another Australian, Travis Head, who capped a stellar year with a match-winning 137 in the World Cup final in Ahmedabad. He cost around £645,000 (6.8 crore) as he returned to the tournament for the first time since 2017.
West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell was the first player to go under the hammer at the event in Dubai and fetched a surprisingly lavish £700,000 bid from Rajasthan Royals, while New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell scooped the biggest cheque of his career when he went to Chennai Super Kings for £1.3million.
CSK also signed Mitchell’s fellow Kiwi Rachin Ravindra, the breakout star of the World Cup, for a modest £170,000.