IPL Auction 2021: Morris, Maxwell, Gowtham Among the Biggest Buys

The 14th edition of the IPL is likely to be played in India and begin in April, after the series against England.

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IPL
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Chris Morris on Thursday fetched the highest ever bid of Rs.16.25 crore in Indian Premier League (IPL) history as Rajasthan Royals (RR) picked the South African pace bowling all-rounder after intense bidding war with Punjab Kings at a player auction, even as Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) made the other big moves. Morris's base price was Rs.75 lakh.

Yuvraj Singh held the previous all-time record with Rs.16 crore, which Delhi Daredevils paid in 2015. And the highest ever bid for a foreigner was Rs.15.5 crore, which the Kolkata Knight Riders paid to buy Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins last year.

Morris, 33, represented Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2020 IPL, and bagged 11 wickets in nine matches.

South African Morris has previously played for Rajasthan Royals in the 2015 season and had scored 311 runs and took 13 wickets in 11 games. In all, he has played 70 IPL games and scored 551 runs at a strike-rate of 157.88 and taken 80 wickets at an economy of 7.81.

Kumar Sangakkara, RR's Director of Cricket and former Sri Lanka captain, justified the money spent on Morris.

"Yes, we know we paid a high price [for Morris]. But we were looking for a specific role. We wanted to strengthen the middle-order. He provides value with both bat and ball. His numbers with the ball are great across IPLs," he said.

The 14th edition of the IPL is likely to be played in India and begin in April, after the ongoing home series against England.

The other big earners on Thursday were pace bowler Kyle Jamieson of New Zealand and all-rounder Glenn Maxwell of Australia. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) shelled out Rs. 29.25 crore on two players. They bought Jamieson for Rs.15 crore and Maxwell for Rs. 14.25 crore.

Jamieson's base price for Rs. 75 lakh and Maxwell's base price was Rs.2 crore.

IPL Auction 2021: Morris, Maxwell, Gowtham Among the Biggest Buys

Maxwell, 32, was earlier released by Punjab Kings -- earlier called Kings XI Punjab -- who had bought him for Rs. 10.75 crore for the 2020 edition.

Maxwell is an integral member of Australia's T20I squad and is mostly used to playing in the Top 4, but has not had a good run in recent seasons in the IPL. He scored 552 runs at 187.75 strike rate for Punjab in 2014 when they made it to the final. But subsequent seasons have seen his output drop substantially. Having returned to Punjab last year, he managed a total of 108 runs from 13 games, failing to hit a single six along the way.

RCB head coach Mike Hesson pointed to the fine form Maxwell is in.

"He's a multi-skilled player, he's good in the field and is able to bowl off spin, so just depends on what teams want. We all know what good touch he is in away from the IPL. Only a couple of years ago in 2017 he was used higher up the order and had his best IPL, so we'll look at how we best use him...help AB [de Viliers] out and provide a bit of power through the middle there. We've obviously got other players to do other jobs, so we were after that X-factor player and we've found that in Glenn Maxwell, so we're delighted," he said.

Australia pace bowler Jhye Richardson, 24, also hit the jackpot, by fetching Rs.14 crore from Punjab Kings after he also evinced interest from Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. His base price was Rs.1.5 crore.

Punjab paid a big amount (Rs 8 crore) for another Australian pacer, the uncapped Riley Meredith, making him the costliest uncapped foreign player in the IPL history. The 24-year-old has 43 wickets in 34 T20s that he has played.

Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile also ended up with a good deal, fetching a Rs 5 crore bid from Mumbai Indians. He had a base price of Rs 1.5 crore.

Rajasthan Royals brought in Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman at his base price of Rs 1 crore while Delhi Capitals snapped up Tom Curran and Umesh Yadav for Rs 5.25 crores and Rs 1 crore respectively.

England's off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali, who just a few days ago played the second Test against India in Chennai, went to CSK for Rs.7 crore. His reserve price was Rs.2 crore.

"Absolutely buzzing to play for CSK. They have a massive fan base and I can't wait to meet them. I can't wait to play under Dhoni. My teammate Sam Curran is there too. This made my day, made my year," said Moeen in a video message.

Chennai Super Kings were applauded by other teams in the room for buying India's Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara for his base price of Rs 50 lakh, paving the way for his IPL return for the first time since 2014.

Indian domestic players also hit gold with Tamil Nadu youngster Shahrukh Khan, who impressed with his hard-hitting in the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, being bought by Punjab Kings for Rs.5.25 crore.

Krishnappa Gowtham, Karnataka's off-spinner and lower-order batsman, was bought for Rs.9.25 crore by Chennai Super Kings. Gowtham reserve price was Rs.20 lakh.

India all-rounder Shivam Dube, who was released by RCB, was bought by RR for 4.4 crore. His base price was Rs.50 lakh.

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hassan went for Rs.3.2 crore to Kolkata Knight Riders while Australian batsman Steve Smith (base price: Rs.2 crore) was picked for Rs 2.2 crore by Delhi Capitals.

Australia's 37-year-old all-rounder Dan Christian triggered an inexplicable bidding war before going to Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 4.8 crore, way above his base price of Rs 75 lakh.

Seasoned Indians Harbhajan Singh (Rs 2 crore) and Karun Nair (Rs 50 lakh) found a buyer in Kolkata Knight Riders in the final round after going unsold initially.

Among the players who remained unsold were Hanuma Vihari, Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Adil Rashid, and Aaron Finch.

Other Notable Buys:

  • Moises Henriques (Punjab Kings - Rs 4.2 Cr)
  • Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings - Rs 1.5 Cr)
  • Piyush Chawla (MI - Rs 2.4 Cr)
  • Chetan Sakariya (RR - Rs .2 Cr)
  • Cheteshwar Pujara (CSK - Rs 50 lk)
  • Kedar Jadhav (SRH - Rs 2 Cr)
  • Mujeeb Ur Rahman (SRH - Rs 1.5 Cr)
  • Sam Billings (DC - Rs 2 Cr)

(With various inputs)

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