Australia stars Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins hit jackpot at IPL 2024 auction

World Cup winners land biggest deals in history of tournament during auction in Dubai

Australia stars Pat Cummins, left, and Mitchell Starc landed the biggest contracts in IPL history. AFP
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Australia's World Cup winners Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins had more reasons to celebrate a spectacular 2023 as they landed record deals during the IPL 2024 player auction at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on Tuesday.

Starc and Cummins helped the Aussies win the World Test Championship, retain the Ashes and also clinch the ODI World Cup title. They were expected to be among the most sought-after players, and that is exactly how it turned out.

The two Aussies took home a combined $5.45 million, shattering the previous records for the highest bid in the IPL. Cummins, the World Cup-winning captain, briefly became the most expensive player in the history of the T20 tournament before Starc was snapped up by Kolkata Knight Riders for 247.5 million rupees ($2.98 million).

Sunrisers Hyderabad bought Cummins for 205 million rupees ($2.47 million), breaking the mark set by England’s Sam Curran ($2.35 million) who was the previous most expensive player – for Punjab Kings last year.

KKR had earlier lost out while bidding for Cummins. They also lost out to Rajasthan Royals in securing West Indies batsman Rovman Powell. So they were determined, and well-placed in terms of available funds, to go for Starc.

“We all come with plans. You win some, you lose some, and you just have to be prepared for all that. It wasn't like you came in with that mindset, but obviously he (Starc) was a preferred player from that skill set standpoint,” Venky Mysore, managing director of KKR, said.

“Initially, we were not successful in some of the bids. Maybe that worked in our favour, because we did end up having money to do this, otherwise, we might not have been able to do it. So, we're just thankful that we were able to have him on our side.”

Mysore, attending his 14th auction, noted times have changed in terms of the team budgets, since the IPL was founded in 2008.

“The entire salary cap of a team at that time was around 200 million but things have changed,” he said.

“Teams decide to slice it differently. What you've paid to somebody, up, down, what not, is matter of perspective. Ultimately, we're all spending the same amount of money.

“When you plan your team, from a retention standpoint, with the auction so far away, you have no idea of who are the other players from other teams who are being released, trades happening, and all that.”

Daniel Vettori, the Sunrisers Hyderabad coach, felt they made three significant buys with Cummins, along with his teammate Travis Head ($819,000), and Sri Lankan all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga ($181,000).

“It’s a small auction and the team felt relatively settled that we could target one or two players. The left-handed opening batsman (Travis Head) was a huge part of that," Vettori said.

“I didn’t expect to be pushed so hard about that but looking at the quality, there’s so many good players available. When you have that big purse, you can target anyone and hope to get him, and that was the case with Pat.

“Someone else desperately wanted him as well, that's why he got pushed to that high number.

“We had already picked up Travis Head and (Wanindu) Hasaranga, we felt like we'd covered most things that we wanted at the auction, so we had the ability to spend that much.”

There were other notable picks. Fast bowlers Spencer Johnson and Alzarri Joseph landed million-dollar deals, while New Zealand's World Cup star Daryl Mitchell was also in demand.

However, a number of New Zealand regulars went unsold. Uncapped batsman Sameer Rizvi was a big winner as he made the most of a memorable UPT20 League, landing a million-dollar deal with Chennai.

Top buys at IPL 2024 auction

1. Mitchell Starc $2.98 million (Kolkata Knight Riders)

2. Pat Cummins $2.47m (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

3. Daryl Mitchell $1.67m (Chennai Super Kings)

4. Harshal Patel $1.42m (Punjab Kings)

5. Alzarri Joseph $1.38m (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

6. Spencer Johnson $1.20m (Gujarat Titans)

Updated: December 19, 2023, 5:03 PM