Cummins becomes IPL's most expensive overseas buy
MUMBAI – Australia's Pat Cummins became the most expensive overseas buy ever in the Indian Premier League when the Kolkata Knight Riders paid a staggering 155 million rupees ($2.18 million) for the fast bowler in Thursday's auction in Kolkata.
The 26-year-old, ranked number one in tests, attracted an intense bidding war between the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and the Delhi Capital before Kolkata joined in to bag his services for the 2020 edition of the tournament.
Cummins was part of the Kolkata squad in 2014 and 2015 and last played in the tournament for Delhi in 2017. The Mumbai Indians picked him up the following season but he was ruled out with a back injury.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes was the most expensive overseas buy before Cummins when Pune paid 145 million rupees in 2017 while Yuvraj Singh, the hero of India's 2011 World Cup triumph, got the highest bid for a home-based player of 160 million in 2015 from Delhi.
There was a hefty payday for more Australians on Thursday with all-rounder Glenn Maxwell going to Kings XI Punjab for 107.5 million rupees ($1.51 million) while reigning champions Mumbai paid 80 million rupees for paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Maxwell recently returned to Twenty20 cricket after taking six weeks off from the game to deal with mental health issues and was left out of the Australia squad for next month's limited overs tour of India.
Australia's limited-over captain Aaron Finch joined Bangalore for 44 million while his English counterpart and World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan returned to his old side Kolkata for 52.5 million.
"Two outstanding gentlemen will return to @KKRiders! @Eoin16 with his power middle order game & outstanding leadership help for @DineshKarthik & one of the game's premier fast bowlers @patcummins30 who I feel was the best player on offer for this year's @IPL auction Welcome boys!" the franchise's new head coach Brendon McCullum said on Twitter.
All-rounders were in high demand at the auction for the 13th edition of the tournament next year with South African Chris Morris joining RCB for 100 million.
Punjab, who are coached by former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble, had released most of their players from last season and added West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell for 85 million rupees.
Cottrell's Caribbean team mate and hard-hitting batsman Shimron Hetmyer also garnered a lot of interest among the franchises and ultimately joined Delhi for 77.5 million.
South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn and New Zealand opener Martin Guptill were notable names among the players who went unsold.Reuters