England all-rounder Sam Curran on Friday became the most expensive signing in history of Indian Premier League (IPL) after Punjab Kings (PBKS) spent a whopping Rs 18.50 crores at the mini player auction for acquiring his services.
Curran’s signing amount surpassed the Rs 16.25 crores that Rajasthan Royals paid for all-rounder Chris Morris at the 2021 player auction.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians (MI) bagged Australia all-rounder Cameron Green for Rs 17.5 crores, making him the second most expensive player in the history of the tournament.
On the other hand, England Test skipper Ben Stokes will now be featuring for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) after being with a signing amount of INR 16.25 crores, the joint-third most expensive player in the ongoing auction.
“These three are private jet category players,” chuckled former West Indies left-handed batter Chris Gayle, who was not surprised with Curran getting the highest bid in the auction considering the high demand for premium fast-bowling all-rounders.
West Indies wicketkeeper Nicholas Pooran got 16 crores with Lucknow Super Giants’ first buy of the day that got countryman and JioCinema expert Gayle in a playful mood. “Nikki P, the money that I lend you, can I get it back please,” joked Gayle, who had critical stints with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings in the IPL.
England batter Harry Brook was bought for INR 13.25 crores by Sunrisers Hyderabad after an intense bidding war with Rajasthan Royals, who did not have enough in their purse to continue bidding. Brooks amassed 468 runs at an average and strike rate of 93 in the Test series against Pakistan that England won 3-0, and was awarded Player of the Series.
In 17 T20I innings since his England debut earlier this year, Brook has averaged 26.57 at a strike rate of 137.77 and was a part of England’s T20 World Cup winning team in Australia. Joining Brook in Hyderabad is India opener Mayank Agarwal, who was Punjab Kings’ skipper in IPL 2022.
“Harry Brook – broke the bank early! That’s a lot of money, it’s a good buy. He’s a good player as well. I am happy for Mayank as well. So, Sunrisers are really tucking it up in the batting department,” added Gayle.
Former New Zealand cricketer Scott Styris felt Agarwal, with a pay check of INR 8.25 crores to Hyderabad, was the better buy between the two players after he successfully predicted that SRH will go for Agarwal in the mock auction on Friday. “Indian players are worth more than overseas because you need seven versus the four overseas. So, I think it’s a great buy – Mayank Agarwal.”
Anil Kumble, ex Punjab Kings head coach, was impressed with Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings going all the way for Green and Stokes respectively.
“Someone like Cameron Green – we spoke about this yesterday too saying Wankhede stadium will be probably ideal for him, so Mumbai Indians will be happy with that buy and Chennai Super Kings has done really well there with Ben Stokes – with the leadership there. MS Dhoni and Ben Stokes, I mean you can’t ask for a better sort of a combination.”
AB de Villiers, the Royal Challengers Bangalore batting stalwart, felt Stokes was undervalued at the moment, which 2019 ODI World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan agreed with.
“There is no amount of money enough for Ben Stokes – he is an unbelievable player, experienced with both bat and ball. I actually think he is a bit undervalued and is going to bring a lot to the party!,” he said.