The IPL auction is the biggest attraction year after year, with players securing contracts worth millions overnight. Indian Premier League was launched in 2007 with an auction format to build the squads. The concept of buying and selling players wasn't taken well by those who proclaimed to protect Indian culture.
As time went by, IPL auctions became the second biggest yearly event in Cricket after the tournament. The opportunity to get lucrative contracts and play amongst the best players in the world meant that players waited for IPL auctions with big hopes.
The first-ever IPL auction had a salary cap of USD 5 million (approx INR 20 cr) for each team. It was increased to USD 7 million for the second season. The mega auction in 2011 saw the total purse increase to USD 9 million. It was further raised to USD 12.5 million for the 2013 auction.
At the 2014 mega auction, the salary cap was in Indian rupees for the first time and the limit for each was set to INR 60 crore. The salary cap kept increasing and it currently sits at INR 100 crore. As the purse got bigger, it is only natural that the record for the most expensive buys also got broken several times.
There have been 17 player auctions in the IPL and it has had its fair share of mind-blowing moments. Today we take a look at the five most memorable moments from IPL auctions.
- 1 Most memorable IPL auction moments
Most memorable IPL auction moments
England pair Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen fetch the highest bids in 2009
The 2009 IPL auction was quite remarkable for the rise of the league. The IPL, with all its glamour and commercial aspects, faced quite the animosity from the English board and media. Kevin Pietersen had a tussle with the board to register for the auction.
Come to the auction, it was Pietersen and his England teammate Andrew Flintoff who ended up being the joint most expensive players in the league at the time. Pietersen was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore while Flintoff went to Chennai Super Kings, both for USD 1.5 million.
Both of them didn't have a memorable debut season but it paved the way for more England players to come to India for the IPL and the England board eventually embraced the league.
Mumbai Indians secure Rohit Sharma at 2011 IPL auction
Mumbai Indians may have been ruthless in handing over the reins from Rohit Sharma to Hardik Pandya for the upcoming IPL season but it is that ruthlessness which brought them success under Rohit. With Sachin Tendulkar in the twilight of his career, MI wanted to get a local star and Sharma fit the bill.
It was a three-way battle for the Hitman between Kings XI Punjab, Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians. The Ambani-owned franchise eventually secured Rohit for USD 2 million. In 2013, they named him the captain of the franchise after Ricky Ponting stepped down due to a poor start to the season.
It remains one of the most memorable moments at IPL auctions and in Mumbai's history as he went on to lead MI to five IPL titles and one Champions League trophy. Rohit hasn't had a great IPL season with the bat in recent times but he had some remarkable performances in his first six years at the franchise.
Yuvraj Singh goes big in back-to-back IPL auctions
Yuvraj Singh hit the jackpot at the IPL auctions not once but twice when he became the most expensive player in back-to-back years in 2014 and 2015. After winning the battle against cancer, Yuvraj made his comeback to the national side and his stocks in the IPL were at an all-time high.
In the IPL 2014 auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore acquired Yuvraj for INR 14 crore after a fierce bidding war with Kolkata Knight Riders. Yuvraj did well in that season, scoring 376 runs at an average of 34 while striking at 135. Despite that, RCB released him ahead of the next auction to get him at a cheaper price.
However, the move backfired as Yuvraj ended up becoming the costliest player in the IPL after Delhi Capitals bought him for INR 16 crore. Funnily enough, the losing bidders were none other than Bangalore.
Sam Curran becomes the most expensive IPL player
The IPL 2023 auction witnessed Sam Curran set a new record for the biggest signing in the history of the tournament. The England all-rounder fetched a whopping amount of INR 18.5 crore with Punjab Kings acquiring his services.
This was a mini auction and the limited supply of quality players meant that IPL franchises splurged huge amounts on a few players. Sam Curran struck gold at the auction thanks to his performance in the 2022 T20 World Cup.
Curran was the Player of the Tournament in England's title-winning campaign and also the Player of the Match in the final against Pakistan. In an intense bidding war, Punjab Kings fought off Chennai, Lucknow and Mumbai to claim the all-rounder.
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins shatter records
The latest entry in the most memorable moments at IPL auctions would undoubtedly be the Australian duo Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins shattering all the previous records. The fast bowling duo of Australia’s World Cup-winning squad fetched INR 45.25 crore between them in the IPL auction 2024.
The Australia captain Cummins became the first ever player to break the 20-crore barrier at IPL auctions when Sunrisers Hyderabad bought him for INR 20.50 crore. Hyderabad had to overcome Royal Challengers Bangalore in a lengthy battle to sign Cummins.
Just an hour later, Starc surpassed his teammate to become the most expensive player in the history of the IPL. Starc hasn't played in the league since 2017 nor has he played much T20 cricket but that didn't affect his stocks as a few teams went on a spending spree. Kolkata Knight Riders and Gujarat Titans had the most balance and they kept going. KKR eventually won the bidding war for an insane amount of INR 24.75 crore.