The Indian Premier League (IPL) auction is one of the most anticipated events on every year's cricketing calendar. The thrilling system has seen players sold for staggering prices of over 10 crore INR, and has given birth to many heartwarming rags-to-riches stories.
However, with such a large price tag come massive expectations and most cricketers struggle to live up to their 'auction value'. Among the players who have fetched over 10 crores, very few have backed up the amount with performances - Gautam Gambhir, KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja are among those who have.
In this article, we take a look at 5 players who fetched over 10 crores in the auction but didn't manage to justify their price tag.
Note: All prices mentioned in this article are in INR.
#5 Dinesh Karthik (IPL 2014, IPL 2015)
In the 2014 IPL auction, Dinesh Karthik was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils) for 12.5 crores.
The wicket-keeper scored only 325 runs in the season at an average of 23.21, with his strike rate of 125.96 also on the lower side. His team finished dead last on the IPL table, registering only 2 wins over the course of the competition.
Karthik was then bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the next edition of the IPL, for another massive price tag of 10.5 crores.
Again, the middle-order batsman disappointed, with only 141 runs in 16 games at an abysmal average of 12.81, without a single fifty to his name. However, his team fared much better this time around, with RCB finishing third at the end of the league phase.
Karthik has been excellent in the IPL since and has ably led the Kolkata Knight Riders.
#4 Ben Stokes (IPL 2018, IPL 2019)
Ben Stokes was bought by the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the 2018 IPL auction for 12.5 crores. The all-rounder was just coming off an excellent season with the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), in which he scored over 300 runs and picked up over 10 wickets.
However, in the two IPL campaigns that have followed, Stokes didn't score a single fifty and averaged 16.33 and 20.5 respectively. The Englishman also registered expensive economy rates of 8.18 and 11.22 respectively, and even had to leave the 2019 edition of the IPL early due to international duties.
Although RR managed to scrape through to the playoffs in 2018, they finished 7th in the most recent IPL. Stokes' poor form was a major contributing factor and he will be keen on setting the record straight, especially after his incredible performances for England recently.
#3 Jaydev Unadkat (IPL 2018)
Jaydev Unadkat commanded only 30 lakhs in the 2017 IPL auction, and picked up 24 wickets for RPS to finish second on the Purple Cap list behind only Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
On the back of these performances, the left-arm pacer followed Stokes to RR and was bought for a whopping 11.5 crores ahead of the 2018 IPL. But in that campaign, Unadkat scalped only 11 wickets in 15 games at an economy rate of 9.65, with his vast repertoire of slower balls often becoming predictable.
With his contract preventing RR for signing other legitimate stars, they released the 28-year-old before the next IPL auction and snapped him up for a lower (if still very high) price tag of 8.4 crores. Unfortunately, Unadkat's economy rate went up to 10.66 as RR finished seventh.
#2 Tymal Mills (IPL 2017)
After RCB's marquee pacer Mitchell Starc pulled out of the IPL one day before the 2017 auction, the management decided to get Tymal Mills, who was thought to be a like-for-like replacement, at any cost.
After excelling in England's Blast and Australia's Big Bash, the left-armer was bought for 12.6 crores in what is one of the Karnataka franchise's worst buys in history. Mills has always had a history with injuries - with his body unable to keep up with even ODI cricket - and the same happened in the IPL as well.
The 27-year-old managed only 5 games in which he picked up 5 wickets at an economy rate of 8.58 as RCB finished at the bottom of the table at the end of the league phase of the tournament. Mills' potent yorkers and cleverly disguised slower balls did make fleeting appearances, but the Sussex fast bowler didn't do nearly enough to justify his massive price tag.
#1 Yuvraj Singh (IPL 2015)
Yuvraj Singh had a storied international career in which he played pivotal roles in India's 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup wins, but he hasn't had the same impact in the IPL.
When he was bought for 14 crores by RCB in the 2014 auction, the all-rounder was not only expected to turn around his IPL fortunes but resuscitate his post-cancer stop-start international career. And in the 2014 IPL, Yuvraj scored 376 runs with two fifties to rekindle hopes that he was nearing his best once again.
After RCB released him, the Delhi Daredevils snaffled the Punjab man for 16 crores - the highest auction bid in the history of the IPL. However, Yuvraj scored only 248 runs at an average of 19.07, along with 1 wicket, in the 2015 IPL.
In the following seasons at Sunrisers Hyderabad and RCB, the Man of the Tournament in the 2011 World Cup did show flashes of his best, but was never quite the destructive batsman he once was. Yuvraj has since retired from all forms of top-level cricket.