England all-rounder Sam Curran became the most expensive auction buy in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on a frantic day of bidding and paddling.
Harry Brook and Ben Stokes were two other Englishmen to fetch significant bids, with teams also breaking the bank for Australia’s Cam Green and West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran.
Curran was bought for INR 18.5 crore (roughly £1.85 million) by Punjab Kings, breaking the previous record for the highest bid by more than INR 2 crore, with South Africa’s Chris Morris bought by Rajasthan Royals in 2021 for INR 16.25 crore. Curran was expected to fetch a high bid, with a valuable skill-set as a left-arm fast-bowling all-rounder who excels at the death and can hit big, and his Player of the Tournament performance at the T20 World Cup only lifted his value higher.
Brook was the first player to attract significant interest, and ended up as the first millionaire of the IPL 2023 auction. He was sold to Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 13.25 crore (roughly £1.3 million). Like Curran, Brook was a part of England’s T20 World Cup-winning squad, and while he failed to catch fire at that tournament, he excelled on both of England’s tours of Pakistan as well as enjoying a bumper summer in English domestic cricket.
No stranger to huge IPL paychecks, Stokes received a bid of INR 16.25 crore from Chennai Super Kings. He made a half-century to see England over the line in the T20 World Cup, and there is speculation that CSK see him as an option to take over from MS Dhoni as captain. Dhoni gave up the captaincy before last season, but returned to helm the side after a poor start to their campaign.
Before today, that price tag would have seen Stokes joint with Morris as the most expensive buy ever. But he had to settle for third, with Green sold to Mumbai Indians for INR 17.5 crore. Green has less pedigree in T20 cricket than Stokes or Curran, with just 21 T20 appearances to his name. He averages 16 with the bat and strikes at 138, while averaging nearly 40 and conceding more then nine runs an over with the ball. However, he enjoyed a stellar series with the bat in India ahead of the T20 World Cup, averaging 39 and striking at 215, and is viewed as one of the most promising all-rounders in the world game.
Pooran fetched INR 16 crore, making him the most expensive non-all-rounder in IPL auction history. No longer West Indies captain after a disappointing first-round exit at the T20 World Cup, Pooran is nonetheless highly rated as a middle-overs hitter, and placed at No.17 in CricViz’s list of the best T20 players in the world right now, as presented in Wisden Cricket Monthly.
Among the notable non-buys are Joe Root, who has never appeared in the IPL despite being one of the greatest batters England has ever produced, though he may yet get a deal with some players going under the hammer for a second time.
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