Big buys at IPL auction buys that failed to deliver

Since the first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), there have been some big buys at IPL auction with teams punting on the stars to do good for the team. In 2024, Australia World Cup-winning skipper Pat Cummins became the first player to go past the 20-crore park in the IPL after being bought by the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).

Later, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bought Cummins’ teammate Mitchell Starc for a price of INR 24.75 crore. After doing well for their national teams, it remains to be seen whether Cummins and Starc can do well in the IPL.

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Over the years, there have been many players from around the world, who failed to bear the pressure of their massive price tags. They bagged the limelight in the auctions, but failed to perform to expectations in the field of play.

Big buys at IPL auction who failed to deliver

Harry Brook- INR 13.25 crore – 2023

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) shelled out INR 13.25 crore in IPL 2023, but the batter could not live up to the expectations. Brook was in brilliant form for England in red-ball cricket when the Orange Army secured his services in the auction after an intense bidding war with the Rajasthan Royals (RR).

Brook batted both as an opener and in the middle, but he lacked consistency for most part of the tournament. In one of the matches, Brook scored a century against Nitish Rana’s Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the iconic Eden Gardens. However, keeping aside that knock, he floundered.

Overall, in 11 matches, Brook scored 190 runs at an average of 21.11 and a strike-rate of 123.37. Subsequently, the Orange Army released him before the auction for the 2024 edition. In 2024, Brook will turn up for the Delhi Capitals (DC) after being bought for INR 4 crore.

Sam Curran – INR 18.50 crore – 2023

England all-rounder Sam Curran became the Player of the Tournament after the Three Lions won the T20 World Cup 2022 following their victory over Pakistan. Hence, it did not spring a surprise as he was one of the hottest properties in the auction for the 2023 season of the IPL.

From a base price of INR 2 crore, Curran ended up bagging a mammoth 18.50 crore. Punjab Kings (PBKS) roped him in after a bidding war with the Mumbai Indians (MI), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

Sam Curran - big buys at IPL auction
Photo by Icon sport

But Curran could not step up for the Kings, who also failed to make their way through to the playoffs. Among the ones who bowled regularly for PBKS, Curran had the second-worst economy rate of 10.22, although he picked up 10 wickets from 14 matches.

Curran scored 276 runs at an average of 27.60 with a top score of 55, but overall, he was far from his best. Despite his indifferent showing, PBKS did not lose faith and retained him for the 2024 season.

Ben Stokes – INR 12.50 crore – 2018

Ben Stokes was the most expensive player of IPL 2018 after Rajasthan Royals (RR) bought him at a price of INR 12.50 crore. Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) also bid for him, but in the end, it was the Royals, who secured his services.

The Royals qualified for the playoffs, although they could not go past the Eliminator, but Stokes was not even close to his best. In 13 matches, Stokes scored 196 runs at an average of 16.33 and a strike-rate of 121.73. Despite being a prolific run-scorer at the international level, Stokes failed to go past the 50-run mark even once with his top score being 45.

Stokes also failed to do justice with the ball after he picked up only eight wickets at an economy rate of 8.18. Interestingly, Stokes won the award for the Most Valuable Player while playing for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant.

Yuvraj Singh – INR 15 crore – 2015

Yuvraj Singh is one of the greatest all-round cricketers India have ever produced. The all-rounder made a name for himself after he hit Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over in the T20 World Cup 2027 and won the Player of the Tournament award in the World Cup that India won.

In 2015, Yuvraj went to the Delhi Daredevils, now Capitals, for a whopping price of INR 16 crore. In 13 matches, the left-handed batter scored only 248 runs at an average of 19.07 and a strike-rate of 118.09 with two half-centuries and a top score of 57 to show for his efforts.

In his career, Yuvraj dismissed the best of batters with his guile and trajectory. But in IPL 2015, he failed to deliver even as a bowler. He bowled nine overs in the tournament and picked up only one wicket at an economy rate of eight.

Ishan Kishan – INR 15.25 crore -2022

Ishan Kishan came to the fore after he helped India finish as the runners-up in the U19 World Cup 2016 in Bangladesh. Thereafter, he made his debut for Gujarat in IPL 2017 after which his career took a turn. Thereafter, the left-handed batter has only played for the Mumbai Indians (MI) in the cash-rich IPL.

In 2022, MI bought Kishan back for a price of INR 15.25 crore after a bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Gujarat Titans (GT) and Punjab Kings (PBKS). But the left-handed batter could not quite live up to his price tag.

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Kishan was the leading run-scorer for MI that season, but he was nowhere close to his best. That was also the season when MI failed to make their way through to the playoffs after winning only four out of 14 matches in the tournament.

In 14 matches, Kishan scored 418 runs, but it was his strike-rate of 120.11 that turned out to be a huge concern for the Mumbai-based franchise. The youngster is still an important part of MI in the IPL due to his fearless batting. 


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India