Records were broken during the Indian T20 League auction on Thursday, February 18, with as many as four players finding suitors for over INR 10 Cr. There were indeed some surprising bids, but at the same time, experienced campaigners like Chris Morris, Nathan Coulter Nile, Moeen Ali and Shakib Al Hasan amongst others were acquired to fill in the void.
Entering with a hefty purse, teams like Rajasthan, Bangalore and Punjab were few of the highest spenders and this made the auction all the more interesting.
So with that being said, here we look at five players who landed mighty contracts during the auction.
Chris Morris - Went to Rajasthan for 16.25 cr
Drafted at a base price of 75 L, all-rounder Chris Morris was a subject of an intense bidding war between several teams, which included the likes of Mumbai, Punjab and Rajasthan. But, it was the latter who came out on top with the highest bid of 16.25 crores. Morris, a South African international, has played 70 games during his seven-year stint in the Indian T20 League, and has scored 551 runs at 23.95, and has picked 80 wickets at a decent economy of 7.81.
Morris has always attracted plenty of interest. He was one of the most expensive buys during the 2020 auction as well, with Bangalore splashing 10 cr for his signature, but a relatively substandard return forced them to part ways with the all-rounder ahead of the upcoming edition. With questions over the availability of Ben Stokes haunting, Morris might well and truly turn out to be a better coup for the one-time champions.
Kyle Jamieson - Went to Bangalore for 15 cr
While everyone expected a fight for New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson, no one really anticipated what was in the offering. Like Morris, Jamieson, too, entered with a base price of 75 L, but went for a whopping 15 crores to Virat Kohli’s team Bangalore. The lanky pacer's talent isn't unknown, and there was no surprise that apart from Bangalore, the likes of Delhi and Punjab were in the fray too.
The 26-year-old is indeed a rookie on international circuit, but his overall T20 figures are staggering, to the say the least. In 38 T20s, the towering pacer has picked 54 wickets at an economy of 7.98.
Glenn Maxwell - Went to Bangalore for 14.25 cr
Glenn Maxwell’s ability of changing the course of a game with the bat was one of the reasons why both Chennai and Bangalore went all-out for the Australian batting all-rounder. Maxwell was one of the most expensive players in the 2020 auctions too, with Punjab splashing 10.75 crores, but a sheer disappointing return last year forced the team hierarchy to let go of the player. Chennai and Bangalore’s tussle made one thing clear that both were looking to get a big-hitting allrounder who can make an impact in the lower middle-order and chip in with a few overs here and there too.
Now, he may well and truly be a gamble, but judging by the unexpected nature of his play, it is indeed worth taking a wager on.
Jhye Richardson - Went to Punjab for 14 cr
Fast bowlers were in limelight during the entirety of the auction on Thursday. Hence, when Jhye Richardson’s name popped out, several teams, including Bangalore, were on red alert. The Virat Kohli-led team engaged in a fierce bidding war with Punjab for the Aussie, but lost out to their opponents, who picked the pacer for 14 cr, making him the second-most expensive bowler in the tournament’s history after Pat Cummins, who went to Kolkata for 15.5 cr last year.
Richardson’s stocks went up during the 2021 edition of the Big Bash League where he ended up as the highest wicket-taker, scalping 29 wickets in 17 matches at an average and strike rate of 16.31 and 12. 7 respectively. He also bowled at a decent economy of 7.69.
Krishnappa Gowtham - Went to Chennai for 9.25 cr
Bowling all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham became the most expensive uncapped player in the Indian T20 League's history after Chennai decided to spend a whopping 9.35 crores. While Gowtham's Indian T20 League career hasn't really taken off in full swing, he has been making a name for himself in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Often seen as a T20 specialist, the 32-year-old has often landed big contracts in the past. In 2018, he was snapped by Rajasthan for 6.2 crores and a season before, team Mumbai paid 6.2 crores for his signature.
While he is not someone who will score big runs or will pick plenty of wickets, his ability of hitting big in the final over and restricting his opponent with the ball is something that will come handy for the MS Dhoni-led team.