IPL AUCTION | Morris becomes most expensive IPL buy with Rs 16.25croredeal

Chris Morris on Friday became the most expensive buy in the IPL auction history with Rajasthan Royals shelling out Rs 16.25 crore for the South Africa all-rounder even as uncapped players such as Karnataka’s K Gowtham also hogged the limelight with hefty deals here.

Spin bowling All-rounder Gowtham was bought for a record Rs 9.25 crore by the Chennai Super Kings. The 32-year-old is currently with the Indian team as a net bowler for the ongoing Test series against England. Tamil Nadu’s Shahrukh Khan, named after the Bollywood superstar, expectedly got a handsome Rs 5.25 crore deal from Punjab Kings, more than 51 times his base price of Rs 20 lakh. Shahrukh has been in the limelight with his exploits in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Gowtham, an IPL regular who was released by Punjab Kings, was the second off-spinner CSK bought after England’s Moeen Ali. With the hefty price tag, Gowtham became the most expensive uncapped buy in IPL history. His base price was also Rs 20 lakh.

Morris’ big pay day came after another all-rounder and perennial under-performer, Australian Glenn Maxwell, once again managed to attract a winning Rs 14.25 crore bid from Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Punjab Kings, who went into the auction with the maximum purse among eight teams, paid Rs 14 crore to rope in Australian pacer Jhye Richardson hoping he will plug the gap in their leaking bowling department.

The 24-year-old, who has played two Tests, 13 ODIs and nine T20Is for Australia, was the leading wicket-taker in the recent Big Bash League. Punjab paid a big amount — Rs 8 crore — for another Australian pacer, the uncapped Riley Meredith. The 24-year-old has 43 wickets in 34 T20s that he has played.

Morris, who came with a base price of Rs 75 lakh, generated bids from four teams before it became a battle between Royals and Punjab Kings. Royals eventually sealed it with a record bid which made Morris the costliest buy at the auction ever, surpassing Yuvraj Singh, who was bought by Delhi Capitals for Rs 16 crore in 2015.

The costliest player in the IPL remains ViratKohli, retained for Rs 17 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore. In 70 IPL games, Morris has scored 551 runs at 23.95 and taken 80 wickets at 23.98.

Earlier, KKR made the opening bid for Maxwell but it eventually became a two-way war between Chennai Super Kings and RCB before the ViratKohli-led team won him with a bid which came to USD 1.96 million.

Punjab Kings, who had paid Rs 10.75 crore for Maxwell in the previous auction, had released the 32-year-old following the 2020 edition in which he made 108 runs in 13 games at 15.42.

In 82 IPL games, Maxwell has made 1505 runs at a modest average of 22.13.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali also went for a high price of Rs 7 crore to Chennai Super Kings. Both Maxwell and Moeen had base prices of Rs 2 crore.

Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan was lapped up by KKR for Rs 3.2 crore. He missed the IPL last year as he was serving a ban for failing to report a corrupt approach. Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile also ended up with a good deal, fetching aRs 5 crore bid from Mumbai Indians. He had a base price of Rs 1.5 crore.

Australian Steve Smith, who was released by Rajasthan Royals, was bought by Delhi Capitals for Rs 2.20 crore, only Rs 20 lakh more than his base price.

At his base price of Rs 1.5 crore, England batsman Dawid Malan was a bargain buy for Punjab Kings, who went into the auction with the maximum purse among eight teams. New Zealand fast bowler Adam Milne went to Mumbai Indians for Rs 3.2 crore, more than six times his base price of Rs 50 lakh. Among the players who went unsold were Harbhajan Singh, HanumaVihari, Karun Nair, Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Adil Rashid, KedarJadhav, MustafizurRahman and Aaron Finch.