CHENNAI: Chris Morris on Thursday fetched the highest ever bid of Rs.16.25 crore in the 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 here, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Australia's uncapped pace bowler Riley Meredith (base price: Rs. 40 lakh) went to Punjab Kings for Rs 8 crore.
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.
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.
England's off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali, who just a few days ago played the second Test against India in Cehnnai, went to CSK for Rs.7 crore. His reserve price was Rs.2 crore.
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.
KrishnappaGowtham, 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 ShivamDube, 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. IANS