Royals land Morris for INR 16.25 crore; RCB spend big on Maxwell and Jamieson

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(Conversion rates as follows: USD 1 = INR 73 approx; INR 50 lakh = USD 68,000 approx; INR 1 crore = USD 137,000 approx; INR 10 crore = USD 1,370,000 approx)

Chris Morris, the South Africa allrounder, and New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson were the biggest winners at the 2021 IPL auction. Morris became the IPL’s most expensive overseas player ever signed at an auction when he was picked up by Rajasthan Royals for INR 16.25 crore (USD 2.2 million approx), while Jamieson recorded the day’s second-highest figure, signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 15 crore (USD 2 million approx).

Two more spending records were broken, dispelling doubts over a cautionary mood in the Covid-19 era. Karnataka’s offspinning allrounder K Gowtham became the most expensive uncapped buy in IPL history when Chennai Super Kings signed him for INR 9.25 crore (USD 1.2 million approx). And Punjab Kings’ INR 8 crore (USD 1 million approx) for Australian fast bowler Riley Meredith made him the costliest uncapped overseas player ever. The day’s two other millionaires were Glenn Maxwell – picked up by the Royal Challengers for INR 14.25 crore (USD 1.95 million approx) – and his compatriot Jhye Richardson, signed by the Kings for INR 14 crore (USD 1.9 million approx).

Notable mentions included Cheteshwar Pujara returning to the IPL after seven years – the last time Pujara played any form of T20 cricket was in March 2019, for Saurashtra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – going to the Super Kings for INR 50 lakh, and Arjun Tendulkar, the very last name out of the hat, going to Mumbai Indians for INR 20 lakh. On the flip side, some big names like Aaron Finch, Jason Roy and Sheldon Cottrell remained unpicked.

After a slow start to the proceedings, Maxwell became the day’s first millionaire. Maxwell began at his base price of INR 2 crore and the bids quickly spiralled, with the Royals, the Super Kings, and Kolkata Knight Riders also fighting for his signature.

Maxwell had spent seven seasons with the Punjab Kings (Kings XI Punjab till last season), scoring 1383 runs at a strike rate of 157.69, and helped the team reach the final in 2014.

Then Morris’ name came up and sparked a fierce bidding war – his eventual fee climbing more than 20 times from the base price – involving four different teams, with the Royals eventually beating out the Royal Challengers, Mumbai Indians and the Kings to sign him. He had played for the Royals during the 2015 season and was the team’s joint-highest wicket-taker that year with 13 wickets.

Morris overtook Yuvraj Singh (INR 16 crore in 2015), Pat Cummins (INR 15.5 crore in 2020) and Ben Stokes (INR 14.5 crore in 2017) as the costliest buy at an IPL auction, but the Royals believe it was money well spent.

“We did due diligence, he’s an ex-Royal who can deal with a price tag like that,” Jake Lush McCrum, the Royals CEO, said. ” He is a quality bowler through all phases of the game, can win us games with the bat too. We did stretch, that was our last bid, luckily Kings XI held back. Delighted to have him back with the Royals.”

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