The narrative in the IPL had slowly started changing. Mumbai Indians had emerged as the most successful team in the IPL. They raced to 3 title wins in just five years between 2013-17. Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings were joint second with two wins apiece. Sunrisers Hyderabad opened their account in 2016 beating Royal Challengers Bangalore to the title. The narrative for Punjab, Bangalore, and Delhi remained the same. They were yet to win their maiden IPL trophy.
What were the stakes in the fourth cycle of IPL?
T20 cricket had evolved at a rapid pace since its inception. In 2018 the game had taken the route of data analytics. Keywords like matchups, and specialists started dominating the narrative. Teams went hard for players who could perform a certain role for them rather than the other way around. The stage was set for fireworks in the upcoming four years of the IPL.
We look at the most expensive player in the auction-> 2018-21:
#1 Ben Stokes, 2018 – 12.50 crores
He created a rare record in 2018. Ben Stokes became only the second player to be the most expensive player in the auction for two successive years. He had a fantastic IPL 2017 with the Rising Pune Supergiant winning the MVP. It was no surprise that Stokes will fetch a big number in the mega auction of 2018.
The Rajasthan Royals appeared keen to onboard Stokes. It was clear that they would face stiff competition from many teams. But the Royals didn’t budge. They went all out for the talismanic all-rounder. RR acquired Stokes for INR 12.50 crores.
#2 Jaydev Unadkat, 2019 – 8.40 crores
He had a fantastic IPL in 2017 with the Rising Pune Supergiant. Jaydev Unadkat was the second-highest wicket-taker that year. As the RPS team had to part ways in 2018, the top players from that side were sure to attract high bids. Unadkat was right up there. His left arm angle made him a tantalizing prospect in 2018.
RR paid Unadkat a massive INR 11.5 crores in the mega auction. But the price tag put pressure on Unadkat and he didn’t have the best of seasons. RR released him ahead of the mini-auction in 2019 only to buy him back for a relatively lesser amount. Unadkat was still the most expensive player of the auction bagging INR 8.40 crores.
#3 Pat Cummins, 2020 – 15.50 crores
There is something about Pat Cummins that makes him an irresistible choice across any format he plays. He is the world’s leading pace bowler in Tests. Cummins is a fine ODI bowler who is yet to crack the T20 code though. It didn’t stop the IPL teams to go for Cummins big-time in the 2020 auction. There was intense bidding between 2-3 teams to get him on their team. It was KKR at the end who bought him for INR 15.50 crores. Cummins was the second highest-paid player in the auction then.
#4 Chris Morris, 2021 – 16.25 crores
There was a lot of hype surrounding a player like Chris Morris in the auction. The mini-auction has often inflated the prices of a few players. IPL 2021 mini auction ended up being just that for Morris. The bowling allrounder was aggressively sought after in the auction. Rajasthan Royals who were known to be miserly spenders in the initial years of the IPL broke new ground in 2021. They created a new record spending INR 16.25 crores for Morris making him the most expensive player in the auction ever.