England’s Sam Curran becomes most expensive IPL player

Punjab Kings agreed to pay $2.23m for the all-rounder at the Indian cricket league’s auction of players.

Sam Curran IPL
England's Sam Curran bowls to South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen in Headingley, Leeds, Britain, July 24, 2022 [File: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters]

England all-rounder Sam Curran has become the most expensive player in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at an auction of players before the 2023 cricket season.

On a day of big spending on Friday, the Punjab Kings paid a staggering 185 million Indian rupees ($2.23m) for Curran’s return following a fierce bidding war involving the Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians at the IPL auction in Kochi city, in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Curran, who was the player-of-the-series in England’s T20 World Cup triumph in Australia this year, has previously played for the Punjab Kings in 2019.

“Back to where it all started! Looking forward to it,” tweeted the 24-year-old.

“He’s a world-class player,” said Punjab Kings team director Ness Wadia. “He’d play in any world XI, in any of the top teams, he’s that good. He’s probably one of the best all-rounders in the world, if not the best.”

The left-arm quick and attacking middle-order batsman had a successful stint with Chennai Super Kings but parted ways after a back injury and missed the 2022 edition.

The fee for Curran surpassed the previous highest bid of 162.5 million rupees ($1.96m), paid by the Rajasthan Royals for South African all-rounder Chris Morris last year.

The record Morris broke was smashed again on Friday, with the Mumbai Indians paying 175 million rupees ($2.1m) for Australian all-rounder Cameron Green.

“I’m pinching myself that this has all happened,” Green, 23, said in comments released by Cricket Australia.

“It’s such a weird feeling watching an auction for yourself. I can’t believe how nervous I was and I was shaking like anything when the final call was confirmed.”

The Super Kings might have missed out on Curran but signed England red-ball captain Ben Stokes for 162.5 million rupees.

Batsman Harry Brook, who made his England Twenty20 International and Test debuts this year, became the first millionaire of the day after being signed by Sunrisers Hyderabad for 132.5 million rupees ($1.6m).

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and England batter Joe Root went unsold.

More than 400 players were up for grabs at the auction.

The IPL is a massive money spinner, making more than $11bn each year, according to pre-pandemic estimates. In June, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sold the broadcast rights for the next five seasons to global media giants for $6.2bn.

This year, it also expanded to include 10 franchises battling it out in 74 matches, with a final in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in front of 105,000 fans – and millions more watching on television and smartphones.

Source: News Agencies