Mitchell Starc of Australia clinched the title of the most expensive signing in Indian Premier League (IPL) history, surpassing the previous record held by teammate Pat Cummins in the recent auction. Kolkata Knight Riders secured the services of Starc, a left-arm pacer absent from the IPL for eight years, for a whopping $2.98 million on Tuesday.
The franchise enthusiastically announced their victory, posting, “We won, Mr. Starc!” on X. This amount exceeded the fee paid by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Cummins, who was secured for $2.46 million. Prior to this auction, the record signing was England bowler Sam Curran, who joined Punjab Kings for $2.23 million last year.
Just a month after leading Australia to victory in the 50-overs World Cup in India, Cummins entered the auction with a base price of 20 million Indian rupees ($240,458). Initially, IPL giants Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings expressed interest, but both withdrew as a two-way bidding war unfolded.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
While Royal Challengers Bangalore persistently pursued Cummins, Hyderabad emerged victorious in the tug-of-war over the fast bowler, who also serves as a valuable lower-order hitter. Cummins could potentially offer leadership skills at Hyderabad, although head coach Daniel Vettori remained non-committal about this prospect, stating, “There’s a lot of cricket left before the IPL. We’ll have to get through that, and then we’ll make a decision closer to that time.”
Making a return after an eight-year hiatus, left-arm quick Starc garnered immediate attention, with Mumbai and Delhi initially vying for his services. However, both teams withdrew as bidding intensified, allowing Kolkata to outbid Gujarat Titans and secure the 33-year-old.
Kolkata’s chief executive, Venky Mysore, justified their aggressive pursuit of Starc by noting, “You should expect this. Because IPL is growing, salary caps will grow, and so will player fees.”
New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell also enjoyed a lucrative deal as Chennai acquired the batting all-rounder for 140 million rupees ($1.68 million), a substantial increase from his base price. Indian seamer Harshal Patel joined Punjab Kings for 117.5 million rupees ($1.4 million), marking a significant financial gain in the auction, which took place outside India for the first time.