Australia bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins set IPL auction record fees

Australia fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins have become the most expensive players ever sold at the Indian Premier League auction, smashing the record held by England all-rounder Sam Curran.

Starc has not played in the IPL since 2015 and the left-arm quick’s return to the fray drew a bidding war that ended in an unprecedented bid of GBP 2.34million (24.75 crore rupees) from Kolkata Knight Riders.

Cummins had earlier been picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for just under GBP 2million (20.5 crore), with both fees eclipsing the previous high of GBP 1.77m Punjab Kings paid for Curran last year. Starc and Cummins had both signed up with a base price of less than GBP 200,000.

Like Starc, Cummins is making his comeback to the tournament after a one-year absence to focus on his international commitments, during which he has captained Australia to glory in the World Test Championship and 50-over World Cup on Indian soil.

While those successes placed a premium on the available Australian talent, England’s terrible World Cup campaign saw their stock fall on the trading floor in Dubai.

Veteran Chris Woakes was the biggest winner, earning a fraction under GBP 400,000 as he joined team-mates Curran and Liam Livingstone at Punjab Kings, while Harry Brook was snapped up for around GBP 380,000 by Delhi Capitals.

Brook had been released after one season of a GBP 1.3m deal with Sunrisers and the Yorkshireman settled for a healthy but much-reduced payday.

He hit one superb century in his first IPL campaign but was otherwise badly short of runs with just 190 in 11 matches.

Harry Brook has a new franchise after being picked up by Delhi Capitals.
Harry Brook has a new franchise after being picked up by Delhi Capitals (Scott Barbour/PA)

David Willey, who retired from England duty at the end of the World Cup, collected GBP 189,000 from Lucknow Super Giants, while Surrey paceman Gus Atkinson was among the last signings to be completed in a GBP 95,000 deal with Knight Riders.

Royal Challengers Bangalore took Tom Curran for GBP 141,000 and Rajasthan paid the reserve of GBP 40,000 for Somerset’s uncapped wicketkeeper-batter Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

Elsewhere there was disappointment for English talent, with opener Phil Salt, spinner Adil Rashid and left-armer Tymal Mills among those left unsold.

Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed was a late withdrawal from the auction, with the England and Wales Cricket Board keeping an eye on the workload of a player who looks set to play a big role for them across all three formats and who signed his first central contract a matter of weeks ago.

International considerations already saw Test captain Ben Stokes, Joe Root and Jofra Archer step away from a competition that is expected to run for two months from the end of March. Curran, Livingstone, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Reece Topley, Will Jacks, Moeen Ali, Jason Roy and Mark Wood were all retained by their franchises.

Daryl Mitchell earned his biggest ever pay cheque.
Daryl Mitchell earned his biggest ever pay cheque (John Walton/PA)

As well as Cummins, Sunrisers also splurged on another Australian, Travis Head. He capped a stellar year with a match-winning 137 in the World Cup final in Ahmedabad and cost around GBP 645,000 as he returned to the tournament for the first time since 2017.

New Zealand all-rounder Daryl Mitchell scooped the biggest cheque of his career when he went to Chennai Super Kings for GBP 1.3million, joined by fellow Kiwi Rachin Ravindra, who looked a snip at GBP 170,000 following his starring role at the World Cup.

Experienced Indian seamer Harshal Patel and West Indies seamer Alzarri Joseph both drew over GBP 1million.