IPL history: 12 most expensive players of last 12 IPL auctions and how they performed

Abhishek Arora

MS Dhoni was the most expensive player of the inaugural IPL season

The IPL is undoubtedly one of the most entertaining domestic cricket leagues in the world. The top players from around the globe participate in the IPL. An array of high-profile cricketers also transpires to extravagant amounts being spent to procure their services.

Australian speedster Pat Cummins was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders for a massive ₹ 15.5 crores for IPL 2020. Kings XI Punjab also broke the bank and had to shell out ₹10.75 crores to purchase Glenn Maxwell. This gives us the idea of the kind of money that is involved in the big-budget league. 

Indian cricket fans just can not seem to get enough of the IPL and the enthusiasm only increases each year even after 12 successful seasons. 

While it is always great to win a good bid in the IPL, there are only a handful of players who have been able to justify their high price tag. In this throwback article, we aim to list out the 12 most expensive players of the 12 IPL auctions and how they performed in that particular edition. Without further ado, here they are:

#1 IPL 2008 - MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings) - ₹9.5 crores

MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni is one of the most feared wicketkeeper-batsman of all time. Quipped with a sharp cricketing brain, calmness, and composure on the cricket pitch, the batting powerhouse has always been a fan favourite. 

Also See - IPL 2020: CSK share a video of MS Dhoni arriving at the Chennai airport [Watch]

Mahi, as he is popularly known, was purchased for ₹9.5 crores by Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural IPL edition in 2008. Apart from the 2016 and 2017 editions, when Dhoni played for Rising Pune Supergiants, Dhoni has been a loyal CSK player and an instrumental leader for the franchise. 

During the 2008 edition, Dhoni amassed 414 runs in 16 matches a healthy strike rate of 133.54 and an average of 41.40. The extraordinary player led CSK to the final, where they lost to eventual champions Rajasthan Royals.

Dhoni has been instrumental for CSK and has led them to 8 IPL finals. They have finished as IPL Champions thrice and were runner-up five times. 

The veteran continues to impress in the IPL and will be aiming to make a significant impact in the 2020 edition as well. 

#2 IPL 2009 - Andrew Flintoff (Chennai Super Kings) and Kevin Pietersen (Royal Challengers Bangalore) - ₹9.8 crores (approx) each

Kevin Pietersen

Veteran English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff did not have a memorable experience in the IPL. Purchased for a hefty ₹9.8 crores by Chennai Super Kings, Flintoff was ruled out of 2009 IPL after playing only three matches. The Lancashire-born player could not make a significant impact in those three matches as well. 

He made a total of 62 runs at a strike rate of 116.98 while he managed to clinch 2 wickets at an economy rate of 9.54. 

IPL 2009 was Flintoff's first and last appearance in India's premier domestic league. 

Kevin Pietersen also had a dismal IPL 2009 despite the fact that Royal Challengers Bangalore had to shell out approximately ₹9.8 crores for him. He could only play 6 matches in his debut IPL season due to International duties.

The English player scored just 93 runs at a dismal average of 15.50 and a poor strike rate of 109.41 in the 6 innings. The Natal-born player did, however, clinch 4 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 6.53. KP's performances were much better in IPL 2010 and 2012 editions.

Also Read - IPL 2020: Three players who flopped last season but might return with a bang

#3 IPL 2010 - Shane Bond (Kolkata Knight Riders) and Kieron Pollard (Mumbai Indians) - ₹4.8 crores (approx) each

Kieron Pollard

Shane Bond played 8 matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2010. The legendary Kiwi speedster made an impact as clinched 9 wickets at a decent economy rate of 7.22. IPL 2009 was Bond's only appearance in the IPL. His best figures of the season - 2/24 - came in the match against Mumbai Indians. The dashing right arm pacer announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on 13 May 2010. 

Mumbai Indians paid an extravagant ₹4.8 crores for West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard. The Trinidad and Tobago-born player was highly impressive in his debut season. He was impressed with both bat and ball. 

Pollard made 15 scalps in 14 matches at a strike rate of 14.80 and an economy rate of 7.40. The lanky power hitter also scored a total of 273 at an explosive strike rate of 185.71 in IPL 2010. Polly has been a regular feature of Mumbai Indians ever since and was also retained by the franchise for ₹5.4 crores ahead of IPL 2020.

Also Read - IPL 2020 - Ranking the power hitters of all 8 teams

#4 IPL 2011 - Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders) - ₹14.9 crores

Gautam Gambhir

Kolkata Knight Riders paid a mind-boggling ₹14.9 crores to procure the services of Gautam Gambhir. The star Indian opener was exceptional in the 2008 edition but had a forgettable 2009 edition. He did a decent job in IPL 2010 and there were high expectations from the Delhi-born player in IPL 2011. 

Gambhir scored 378 runs in 15 matches at an average of 34.36 and a strike rate of 119.24. He led the team to the Playoff stage and became an instrumental figure in the KKR side in the coming years, helping them to two titles in the 2012 and 2014 editions of the IPL. 

The left-handed batsman is the 10th highest run-getter in the IPL if we are to look at the all-time stats. Gauti scored a commendable 4217 runs in his entire IPL career.

Also Read - IPL 2020: Ranking the teams based on their bench strength

#5 IPL 2012 - Ravindra Jadeja (Chennai Super Kings) - ₹12.8 crore

Ravindra Jadeja

After being a part of the Rajasthan Royals in the first two editions of the IPL, Jadeja represented Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the 2011 edition. His all-round capabilities and magnificent fielding made him one of the top picks ahead of IPL 2012. 2011 Champions Chennai Super Kings had to shell out ₹12.8 crores to procure Jadeja's services for IPL 2012. 

In his first edition with CSK, the Gujarat-born player made an impact with the ball as he clinched 12 wickets in 19 matches at an economy rate of 7.80. 

His batting was forgettable as Jaddu could only amass 191 runs in the 19 matches at a strike rate of 126.49 and an average of 15.91. Regardless, a few of his cameos did play an important role in certain matches. 

CSK finished runner-up in IPL 2012 and Jadeja played an important role in the team to help them to the final. CSK retained the all-rounder for ₹7 crores ahead of IPL 2020. 

Also Read - IPL 2020: Chennai Super Kings SWOT analysis

#6 IPL 2013 - Glenn Maxwell (Mumbai Indians) - ₹6.3 crores (approx)

Glenn Maxwell

Power hitter Glenn Maxwell was roped in by Mumbai Indians for ₹6.3 crores ahead of IPL 2013. Despite paying the hefty amount, the Mumbai-based franchise only featured Maxwell in 3 out of 19 matches they played in IPL 2013. 

The hard-hitting Aussie player scored 36 runs at a strike rate of 133.33 and an average of 18.00. Regardless, Mumbai Indians went on to lift their first IPL trophy in 2013. 

The following year, Maxwell played for Kings XI Punjab and smashed a phenomenal 552 runs in 16 matches at an astounding strike rate of 187.75 and an average of 34.50. The Punjab-based franchise paid a hefty ₹10.75 crores for 'The Big Show' for IPL 2020 but he is likely to miss out on the initial phase of the coming edition due to an elbow injury. 

#7 IPL 2014 - Yuvraj Singh (Royal Challengers Bangalore) - ₹14 crores

Yuvraj Singh

Royal Challengers Bangalore paid ₹14 crores for Yuvraj Singh ahead of IPL 2014. The southpaw did a good job with the bat and scored a total of 376 runs in 14 matches at an average of 34.18 and an impressive strike rate of 135.25. 

The Chandigarh-born player also smashed three fifties in the 2014 season. Yuvi also contributed with the ball and made 5 scalps in the tournament. Yuvraj announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket on 10 June 2019. 

#8 IPL 2015 - Yuvraj Singh (Delhi Daredevils) - ₹16 crores

Yuvraj's impressive performances in the 2014 edition meant that he will earn a handsome sum in IPL 2015 as well. This time, the lanky all-rounder received ₹16 crores from Delhi Daredevils. He is the only Indian player in IPL history to be the most expensive buy twice in a row. 

Contrary to the high expectations, Yuvi had a forgettable campaign as he scored just 248 runs in 14 matches at an average of 19.07 and an economy rate of 118.09. 

The all-rounder could not make an impact with the ball as well and clinched just 1 wicket in the entire season. Delhi Daredevils finished at a dismal 7th position in IPL 2015. 

Also Read - Best all format World XI of players who retired in the past decade

#9 IPL 2016 - Shane Watson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) - ₹9.5 crores

Shane Watson

Shane Watson was a key player for the Rajasthan Royals, whom he represented between 2008 and 2015. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore purchased the experienced Aussie all-rounder for a fantastic ₹9.5 crores. Watson was in poor batting form and could only amass 179 runs in 16 matches at an average of 13.76 and a strike rate of 133.58. However, Watto was lethal with the ball and clinched 20 wickets an a strike rate of 16.95 and an economy rate of 8.58, finishing as the third-highest wicket-taker of the tournament. 

Shane Watson currently plays for Chennai Super Kings, primarily as an opening batsman, and has been retained by CSK for ₹4 crores ahead of IPL 2020. 

Also Read - IPL 2020: The oldest and youngest players from each team

#10 IPL 2017 - Ben Stokes (Rising Pune Supergiant) - ₹14.5 crores

Ben Stokes

English all-rounder Ben Stokes justified his high price tag and did well in his debut IPL season. The 28-year-old provides the X-factor for whatever team he plays for. 

Stokes amassed 316 runs in 12 matches at a phenomenal strike rate of 142.98 and an average of 31.60. The match-winning 103 off 63 balls against the Gujarat Lions was undoubtedly his most memorable knock of the season. 

He was also potent with the ball and made 12 scalps in as many matches at an economy rate of 7.18, returning with best figures 3/18.

Rising Pune Supergiant reached the final of IPL 2017 and Ben played a crucial role in their splendid run. They fell agonizingly short of winning the title as they lost to Mumbai Indians by 1 run in the summit clash. 

Also Read - Earnings of top 10 wealthiest Indian cricketers of 2019

#11 IPL 2018 - Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals) - ₹12.5 crores

Ben Stokes

Stokes' phenomenal run in IPL 2017 got him a handsome paycheque in IPL 2018 as well. Rajasthan Royals paid ₹12.5 crores to procure the services of the all-rounder. 

However, the all-rounder was not as lethal as he was the previous edition with RPS. 

Stokes scored only 196 runs in 13 matches at an economy rate of 121.73 and a dismal average of 16.33. The English player could only manage to pick up 8 wickets and had an economy rate of 8.18 in IPL 2018. Regardless, Rajasthan Royals managed to reach the playoffs in 2018. 

28-year-old Ben Stokes has been retained by Rajasthan Royals for ₹12.5 crores ahead of IPL 2020. After failing to make much of an impact in the previous two editions, the World Cup-winner will look to come out all guns blazing in the upcoming edition.

Also Read - IPL 2020: Rajasthan Royals SWOT Analysis

#12 IPL 2019 - Jaydev Unadkat (Rajasthan Royals) and Varun Chakravarthy (Kings XI Punjab) - ₹8.4 crores each

V arun Chakravarthy

Rajasthan Royals released Jaydev Unadkat ahead of IPL 2019 but bought him back during the auctions. The Gujarat-born pacer let down the Royals yet again. He could not justify his high price tag as he claimed just 10 wickets in 11 matches at a poor economy rate of 10.66. 

Surprisingly, the Royals released Unadkat ahead of IPL 2020 but bought him back -- this time for ₹3 crores. It will be interesting to see if the 28-year old bowler can prove his mettle this time around. His performances in the Ranji Trophy for Saurashtra have been exceptional and he has made 58 scalps (and counting) in 9 matches. 

Varun Chakravarthy, who not well-known earlier, got a surprise bid of ₹8.4 from the Kings XI Punjab. The Karnataka-born all-rounder failed to make an impact and played just 1 match for the Punjab-based franchise in which he clinched 1 wicket at an economy rate of 11.66.

Kolkata Knight Riders have invested their faith in Varun and paid a hefty sum of ₹4 crores to procure his services ahead of IPL 2020.

Also Read - IPL 2020: Kings XI Punjab SWOT Analysis

Pat Cummins became the most expensive foreign player in IPL history as KKR roped him in for ₹15.5 crores. How do you think the Aussie speedster will perform in IPL 2020? Do let us know in the comments section below!