The IPL 2021 auction was held in Chennai yesterday, and was predictably dominated by overseas fast bowlers. South Africa’s pace-bowling all-rounder Chris Morris became the most expensive player ever bought in an IPL auction, breaking Yuvraj Singh’s previously held record of INR 16 crore, when he was acquired by the Rajasthan Royals for INR 16.25 crore. Among the other fast bowlers who struck gold were New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson, picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 15 crore, and Australia’s Jhye Richardson who went to the Punjab Kings for INR 14 crore. Meanwhile, Karnataka lad Krishnappa Gowtham became the most expensive uncapped player in IPL history. The Chennai Super Kings splurged INR 9.75 crore on the spin-bowling all-rounder.
Like every other auction, this one too was not short of a few surprises. Here are moments from the event that left us wide-eyed.
Smith and Virat batting together… Almost!
Ace Australian batsman Steve Smith was one of the biggest names at the auction. When his name was called, the first bid came from the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). No other team seemed interested in adding him to their ranks, thus raising fans’ hopes of seeing Smith and RCB captain Virat Kohli, two of the best contemporary batsmen in the world, batting together in this year’s IPL. But the Delhi Capitals proved to be party poopers, swooping in with a last-minute bid.
This still hasn’t sunk in 💙 https://t.co/NhGs19QclT
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) February 19, 2021
Maxi gets a raise
Glenn Maxwell was bought by the Punjab Kings for a whopping INR 10.75 crore in the previous auction, only to bomb spectacularly in the tournament. Nobody, not even Maxwell himself, must’ve thought he’d fetch an amount higher than last time after last season’s abysmal performance. But as luck would have it, the maverick Aussie sent four teams into a bidding war and was finally bought by RCB for an insane INR 14.25 crore. Ah well, this isn’t the first time a buy in the IPL auction has defied logic.
No 3 Kohli, No 4 AB, No 5 Maxwell……@RCBTweets
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) February 18, 2021
Shahrukh goes to Punjab
Unlike his Bollywood namesake, Tamil Nadu batsman Shahrukh Khan was an unknown quantity until this auction. The 25-year-old has a modest base price of INR 20 lakh, but the Punjab Kings had to eventually shell out an impressive INR 5.25 crore to get him. The icing on the cake was Preity Zinta looking over at the Kolkata Knight Riders’ table and quipping, “We got SRK!”
— DK (@DineshKarthik) February 18, 2021
The Mumbai Indians are backed by the country’s wealthiest business family, so it hardly comes as a surprise that they’re among the shrewdest customers at the IPL auctions. Mumbai had released Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile ahead of the auction for INR 8 crore, only to buy him back for INR 5 crore. Additionally, they also bought New Zealand’s Adam Milne at INR 3.2 crore, thus effectively buying two fast bowlers for the price of one. Besides, they also lapped up Kiwi all-rounder Jimmy Neesham for a mere INR 50 lakh.
A 𝗠𝗜ghty combination for the Summer of 21! 😎
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) February 18, 2021
Pujara returns to the IPL
One of the most heartwarming moments of the auction was India’s test match warhorse Cheteshwar Pujara (pictured above) getting a bid. After not featuring in the IPL for the last seven seasons, Pujara will turn out for the Chennai Super Kings this year. Interestingly, a round of applause went out for the CSK table after they acquired him at his base price of INR 50 lakh.
Thank you for showing the faith 🙏
Look forward! https://t.co/t7QlT6SGW1
— cheteshwar pujara (@cheteshwar1) February 18, 2021
KKR’s spin splurge
Before the auction, the Kolkata camp had three frontline spinners in Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Varun Chakravarthy in their squad. But clearly, the team management didn’t think they packed enough strength in the spin department, as they bought Shakib Al Hasan, Harbhajan Singh and Pawan Negi at the auction. Bit of a googly eh?
DK congratulating Bhajji in the 2000s for the good news for #KKR fans in 2021 💜
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) February 19, 2021
Like father, like son
Arjun Tendulkar was the last name to be called out at the auction, and the 21-year-old was bought at a base price by his dad’s old team, the Mumbai Indians. However, unlike Sachin, Arjun isn’t a batsman but a left-arm fast bowler. It’ll be interesting to see if he breaks into MI’s starting XI.
“I would like to thank the coaches, owners and the support staff for showing faith in me.” 🙌💙
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) February 18, 2021