Record $2.25 million bid for Chris Morris and other top buys at IPL 2021 auction - in pictures

Limited spots and size of player pool results in intense bidding

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South African all-rounder Chris Morris became the most expensive player in Indian Premier League history when Rajasthan Royals paid $2.25 million during the player auction on Thursday.

A host of stars from top cricket nations picked up million dollar-plus contracts for the 10-week tournament that is expected to start in April.

The fee for the 33-year-old Morris smashed the record $2.2 million paid for Yuvraj Singh by Delhi in 2015. Australian bowler Pat Cummins had previously been the most expensive foreign player, costing Kolkata Knight Riders $2.17m in 2019.

New Zealand all-rounder Kyle Jamieson went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for $2 million, 14 times his base price at the auction.

Bangalore also got Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell for $1.95m after another bidding battle.

Punjab snapped up Australian quick Jhye Richardson for $1.9 million. They also spent $1.1 million for Australian fast bowler Riley Meredith, who has never played for his country.

After the auction, Richardson said he was "mentally exhausted". Both Richardson and Meredith were keeping tabs on the auction from their quarantine in a Christchurch hotel ahead of Australia's Twenty20 series in New Zealand.

"I mentally exhausted myself of all these emotions of feeling sick and excited," Richardson told a video conference.

"It's life-changing to be honest. Your emotions take over and you double check it, you triple check and quadruple check it.

"I was scribbling on papers, nervous hands, still sinking in..."

The 24-year-old missed the 2019 ODI World Cup with a shoulder injury but is determined to stake his claim for the T20 World Cup in India later this year with a strong IPL display.

"The goal for me is to play Test cricket but whilst I'm not playing that, what's happening in front of me is the most important thing and for me at the moment, that's T20 cricket," he said.

In another room at the same hotel, Meredith was using an online currency converter to figure out how much he would receive.

"I was on Face Time with my girlfriend at the time and we just absolutely couldn't believe it was happening," said Meredith.

"It was like it was fake, to be honest. We're both pretty dumbfounded."

The auction ended on an interesting note. Batting great Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun was picked by Mumbai Indians.

In the last purchase of the evening, Arjun joined Mumbai at his base price of two million rupees ($27,522) having been their net bowler in the last IPL.