The Indian Premier League (IPL) has often been termed as the ‘cash cow’. Players go under the hammer to end up with a team with the highest bid. The IPL auction has seen cricketers earning multiple times their base price to become millionaires. The fierce bidding wars and the strategies executed at the auction table are fun to witness. Teams have paid staggering amounts to get the services of certain players. This article looks at the most expensive player in each IPL season since the tournament’s inception.
2008: MS Dhoni
For the first IPL edition, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) paid Rs.9.5 crore for MS Dhoni. The former Indian skipper had won the inaugural T20I World Cup in 2007 and was in high demand.
CSK roped him in, and the rest is history. Captain Cool has led the franchise to five IPL titles (tied at the top with the Mumbai Indians).
2009: Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff (tied for the most expensive player)
In 2009, two Englishmen drew the highest bids from the franchises. Stylish batter Kevin Pietersen went to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff headed to CSK for Rs.9.8 crore each.
In that season, Pietersen could only manage 96 runs in six matches for RCB.
2010: Shane Bond and Kieron Pollard (joint most expensive player)
For the second season in a row, two players got the highest bids from the franchises. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bought New Zealand speedster Shane Bond’s services for Rs. 4.8 crore. The Kiwi claimed nine dismissals in eight games for his side.
West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard made his IPL debut in 2010, with Mumbai Indians paying Rs.4.8 crore for him. Thus, Pollard became the joint highest bid player in the IPL 2010 auction.
2011: Gautam Gambhir
KKR made one of the most influential decisions in 2011 by getting Gautam Gambhir on board for Rs. 14.9 crore. He was straightway handed the leadership duties, and the left-handed opener led KKR to their maiden title in 2012. Furthermore, KKR went on to win their second title under his captaincy.
2012: Ravindra Jadeja
Indian all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja bagged Rs.12.8 crore in 2012 and joined the CSK squad. He has been an integral part of the MS Dhoni-led franchise, contributing with both bat and left-arm spin. Jadeja has scalped 152 wickets and amassed 2677 runs in 226 matches in the IPL history.
2013: Glenn Maxwell
Mumbai Indians invested Rs.6.3 crore at the 2013 IPL auction to bring Glenn Maxwell into their setup. However, the Big Show did not have a successful tournament, and could only muster 36 runs in three matches.
2014: Yuvraj Singh
RCB paid a whopping Rs.14 crore to get the services of stylish middle-order Indian batter, Yuvraj Singh. However, after a disappointing season with the Bangalore-based team, he was released from the squad.
2015: Yuvraj Singh (Most expensive player two times in a row)
After a setback (getting released by RCB after just one season), Yuvraj roared back in the auction for IPL 2015. Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils) emptied their purse by Rs.16 crore to get the services of the Indian veteran. However, Yuvraj had another disappointing season, scoring just 248 runs in 14 matches.
2016: Shane Watson
In 2016, Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson made his way to RCB for a staggering Rs.9.5 crore. Although Watson did not deliver significantly with the bat (179 runs in 16 matches), he made up with the ball in hand (20 wickets).
2017: Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes has been among the most sought-after overseas all-rounders in the IPL. With his name on the auction list for IPL 2017, there were speculations of him breaking records.
The now-dissolved Rising Pune Supergiant bought the English allrounder for a hefty sum of Rs.14.5 crore. Stokes’ inclusion played a significant role in the Pune-based team making the finals.
2018: Ben Stokes (Most expensive player for the second time)
With the return of CSK and Rajasthan Royals after serving a two-year ban, Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions dissolved. Ben Stokes returned to the auction table, and Rajasthan shelled Rs.12.5 crore to get the all-rounder’s services.
2019: Jaydev Unadkat and Varun Chakravarthy
Left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat and mystery spinner, Varun Chakravarthy bagged Rs.8.4 crore each from Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings respectively.
Unadkat could not live up to his price tag, picking only 10 wickets in the season. On the other hand, Chakravarthy got sidelined due to an injury after just one game.
2020: Pat Cummins
KKR roped in Pat Cummins to bolster their bowling lineup for a whopping Rs.15.5 crore. However, he had a disappointing season with the Men in Purple and Gold, claiming just 12 wickets.
2021: Chris Morris
Rajasthan Royals surprised one and all by going all out for Proteas allrounder Chris Morris at the IPL auction 2021. Morris became richer by Rs.16.25 crore to join the ‘Halla Bol’ army.
2022: Ishan Kishan
Mumbai Indians bought back wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan for Rs.15.25 crore after releasing him ahead of the auction. This decision grabbed numerous eyeballs as Mumbai had kept too little amount to purchase other players in the mini-auction.
2023: Sam Curran (Most expensive player in IPL history)
Sam Curran became the highest-paid player in IPL history when Punjab Kings shelled Rs. 18.50 crore to acquire his services. Curran had a stellar T20 World Cup campaign in 2022 and stakes were expectedly high for the English all-rounder.
Also read: Most runs in IPL history (Top 7 batters)