The Indian Premier League is known as the “cash-rich” league because there is a lot of money associated with the Highest-Paid Players, both the best and the unknown, who earn a lot of money either through the auction or through the player retention. Over the years, the auction has seen owners and team executives engage in bidding wars for players they believe will help them achieve the best results. We’ve seen it happen several times with various players and even the same player in different seasons.
While certain players, including Chris Morris of South Africa and Pat Cummins of Australia, have struck gold in the auctions, others, such as Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Rohit Sharma of India, have garnered top pay from teams eager to keep their star players.
The inaugural IPL auction took place in 2008, but it’s only in recent seasons that a major auction has taken place, with players becoming pricey buys or expensive retainers as franchises try to break the bank to assemble title-winning squads. From 2008 until 2022, below is a list of the topmost expensive players in IPL history (including auction buys and pre-auction retainers):
MS Dhoni is the captain of the Indian cricket team (2008) After leading India to the 2007 T20 World Cup win, the former captain had begun his ascent to the pinnacle of his stardom. The combination of a terrific white-ball skipper and a destructive batsman was enough for teams to consider a dash. He has purchased for Rs 9.5 crore by the Chennai Super Kings.
Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen (2009)
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings respectively won the England combo of Pietersen and Flintoff. RCB paid Rs 9.8 crore for KP, while CSK paid the same sum for Freddie.
Kieron Pollard, Shane Bond (2010)
Kolkata Knight Riders bought the tearaway pacer from New Zealand, and Pollard began his long relationship with Mumbai Indians that year. Both purchases were done for Rs 4.8 crore in the mini-auction.
Gautam Gambhir is a cricketer from India (2011)
Gambhir was, in some ways, the first player to break into the big money league, earning more than Rs 10 crore. In the year he made big contributions to India’s World Cup victory, the KKR paid Rs 14.9 crore for him. Gambhir scored runs and guided the KKR to two IPL titles, thus the investment paid off well.
Ravindra Jadeja is an Indian cricketer (2012)
The Gujarati all-rounder was still in the early stages of his career, but CSK saw the worth and balance he provides to the club as an all-rounder. They paid Rs 12.8 crore, and Jadeja has since joined CSK’s core unit.
Maxwell, Glenn (2013)
From the mini-auction, the Mumbai Indians acquired Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell for Rs 6.3 crore, but the temperamental player quit the franchise shortly after the season.
Yuvraj Singh is an Indian cricketer (2014)
When the Royal Challengers Bangalore paid Rs 14 crore to Yuvraj Singh in the auction, they nearly broke Gambhir’s previous high price. The euphoria, however, only lasted one season, as he was discharged after a succession of underwhelming performances.
Yuvraj Singh (2015)
Despite a lackluster IPL 2014 season, the Delhi Daredevils paid a then-record Rs 16 crore on Yuvraj Singh. Although it was evident that the dashing all-star rounder had faded by then, Delhi was compelled to loosen the purse strings for Yuvraj due to some weird calculations. For six years, the price was the highest it had ever been.
Shane Watson is a British actor (2016)
The RCB handed up Rs 9.5 crore to acquire the Australian all-rounder, but Watson moved for Chennai Super Kings the following season.
Ben Stokes is a British footballer who was born in (2018)
Stokes joined the Rajasthan Royals in 2018 and has since received another lucrative deal worth Rs 12.5 crore, making him one of the richest IPL players.
Varun Chakravarthy, Jaydev Unadkat (2019)
In 2019, two rookie Indian players received hefty contracts, bucking the trend of big names obtaining big contracts. Unadkat was purchased by Rajasthan for Rs 8.4 crore, and Varun relocated to Kolkata.
Pat Cummins (2020)
Cummins was purchased by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 15.5 crore and had a good season with the team.
Morris, Chris (2021)
No one anticipated the South African all-rounder to become the most expensive player in IPL history, but that is exactly what occurred when Rajasthan paid Rs 16.25 crore for him “inputs from www.mykhel.com”.