In 2008, the Indian Premier League was unveiled as the next big thing in international cricket. With the global cricketing stars uniting together to participate in the most popular format of the game, garnered all attention of the Cricketing fans around the world and quickly IPL turned out to be a major annual event for all the Cricket lovers.
Along with IPL, the auction also turned out to be a popular event. As each season progressed, the excitement and thrill of auction procedure grew upwards. From a normal telecast of the procedures, the auction process has grown into a eagerly watched show. The big money flowing in, the surprise picks and the shocking omissions have all excited the viewers.
Let's take a look at the most expensive buys of each IPL Auction from 2008 to 2018.
#1 2008: MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings) - USD 1.5 Million
Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians), Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata Knight Riders), Rahul Dravid (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Yuvraj Singh (Kings XI Punjab), and Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils) were classified as icon players for the inaugural IPL Season and they did not enter the auction.
VVS Laxman, initially named as an icon player for the Deccan Chargers, voluntarily gave up his status to give his team more money to bid for players. Only Rajasthan and Chennai did not have any icon players. The icon players were entitled to receive 15 percent more money than the highest paid player of their respective teams in the auction. Tendulkar received USD 1.121 million, the highest among icon players. A total of 75 players (29 Indians) were sold at the auction.
As expected, MS Dhoni won the highest bid of USD 1.5 million as Chennai Super Kings bagged the Indian skipper for a record amount. Andrew Symonds was the most costly foreign player with Deccan Chargers spending USD 1.35 million for the Australian.
The Indian skipper was worth every penny as it turned out to be one of the most successful signings in the IPL history. Dhoni led the Chennai Super Kings into 7 finals and lifted the IPL Trophy thrice. Under his leadership, CSK also lifted the Champions League twice. They also hold the best winning percentage among all IPL Teams.
#2 2009: Andrew Flintoff (Chennai Super Kings) & Kevin Pietersen (Royal Challengers Bangalore) - USD 1.55 Million
The auction for the second season of IPL was mainly for International players from England and the domestic players from the International circuit who were not part of the IPL in the inaugural season. None of the Indian players featured in this auction. Out of the 43 players who were shortlisted for the auction, only 17 were picked up by different franchises. The English duo of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen fetched the highest bids of 1.55 million USD each.
Flintoff was picked up by Chennai Super Kings who were in short of a genuine all-rounder in the first season. Pietersen was brought by Royal Challengers Bangalore in order to strengthen their top order lineup and to bring some aggressiveness into their style of play.
Pietersen also captained the RCB side for the season but he quit after six matches due to international commitments. The right-hander only managed to score only 93 runs in the 6 matches and was only able to win two games as a captain. Later, Anil Kumble took over the team and led them to the finals. Flintoff also had a poor season with injury affecting his performances. He was able to play only three matches for CSK. Both the big buys of the season turned out to be failures in the IPL second edition.
#3 2010: Kieron Pollard (Mumbai Indians) & Shane Bond (Kolkata Knight Riders) - USD 0.75 Million
In 2010 IPL Auctions, an auction cap of 0.75 million USD was set for individual players. The most expensive picks of the season, Kieron Pollard and Shane Bond were picked up by the franchises through a secret tiebreaker as multiple teams were interested in them for the maximum allowed amount.
Kieron Pollard was picked up by Mumbai Indians and Shane Bond was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders. Only 11 players were sold in this auction with Mohammed Kaif (Kings XI Punjab) being the only Indian player picked up in this auction.
It was rumored that Pollard was sold for a whopping bid amount of USD 2.75 million in the secret sealed bid. He later turned out to be a regular pick in the Mumbai Indians squad in the seasons followed.
Pollard was one among the four players Mumbai Indians retained the next season. Bond had an average season with Kolkata Knight Riders as the team failed to qualify to the playoffs for the third consecutive time. Injuries affected his IPL performances and he retired from IPL after the season.
#4 2011: Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders) - USD 2.4 Million
The fourth season of IPL provided the opportunity for the teams to completely rebuild their team from the auction list as teams were allowed to retain only a maximum 4 players. Kolkata Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab did not retain any of their players resulting in them having bigger salary caps in the auction.
The number of IPL teams increased from 8 to 10 with the addition of two new teams, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors India. 127 players (52 Indians) were sold at the auction. Unsurprisingly Kolkata picked up the most expensive player from the lot in the form of Gautam Gambhir.
Gambhir was bought by KKR for USD 2.4 million whereas the second most expensive buy was also for KKR as they got hold of Yusuf Pathan for USD 2.1 million. This auction turned out to be a fate-changing decision for KKR as Gambhir led them to the IPL title twice in the next four seasons.
Also, the new franchise Pune Warriors India bought Robin Uthappa for the same price. Mahela Jayawardene was the most expensive foreign player as the new team Kochi Tuskers Kerala picked him up to lead the side.
#5 2012: Ravindra Jadeja (Chennai Super Kings) - USD 2 Million
In the fifth edition of the IPL, the auction was mainly for the players from the defunct franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Pune Warriors India did not take part in the auction due to some issues with BCCI.
The remaining 8 teams took part in the auction with each team allowed to spend a maximum of USD 2 million. Chennai Super Kings used all their money to bring in the Indian allrounder Ravindra Jadeja into their squad. Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene was the second most expensive player in the list with Delhi Daredevils spending USD 1.4 milllion for him.
#6 2013: Glenn Maxwell (Mumbai Indians) - USD 1 Million
With settled lineups for each team, the sixth edition of the IPL Auction was a relatively quiet affair with Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell being the only millionaire. Mumbai Indians bought the hard-hitting batsman for USD 1 million.
Interestingly, Maxwell got out on a golden duck and Sunil Narine hit him for 4 consecutive sixes on the same day of auction in the ODI match between Australia and West Indies. Maxwell's short stint with Mumbai Indians turned out to be a flop as he scored only 36 runs in the 3 matches he played. Sri Lanka's mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis was the second most expensive buy of the season with Pune Warriors spending USD 0.725 million for him.
#7 2014: Yuvraj Singh (Royal Challengers Bangalore) - INR 14 Crores
The 2014 IPL auction provided yet another opportunity for the teams to reshuffle their players. The auction featured 8 teams as Pune Warriors India announced withdrawal from IPL. All teams were allowed to retain a maximum of 5 players and all other players went to the auction pool.
For the first time, the players were valued in Indian rupees during the player auction instead of the US dollars. Also, uncapped players featured in the IPL Auctions for the first time. Out of the 912 players who entered the auction, 154 players (104 Indians and 50 from overseas) were sold.
Indian icon Yuvraj Singh was the most expensive buy of the season with Royal Challengers Bangalore spending INR 14 crores for him. Wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik was second in the list with Delhi Daredevils spending INR 12.5 Crores. Kevin Pietersen was the most expensive foreign player at INR 9.5 crores. Unfortunately for RCB, Yuvraj disappointed with his performances in that season.
#8: 2015 - Yuvraj Singh (Delhi Daredevils) - INR 16 Crores
66 players (43 Indians and 23 Overseas) were sold at the 2015 IPL auction. Once again, Yuvraj Singh turned out to be the most expensive buy in an IPL Auction. This time Delhi Daredevils picked the left-hander for INR 16 crores.
Interestingly, the two most expensive buys of 2014 and 2015 were the same players as they switched teams. Yuvraj went from RCB to DD while Dinesh Karthik moved from DD into RCB.
Royal Challengers Bangalore bought Karthik for INR 10.5 crores this time around. Yuvraj scored 248 runs from 14 matches while Karthik was able to score only 141 runs from 16 matches. Both these expensive moves turned out to be failures similar to the previous year. Angelo Mathews was the most costly foreign player at INR 7.5 crores. Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Daredevils) was the most expensive signing among the uncapped players.
#9 2016: Shane Watson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) - INR 9.5 Crores
Two new franchises Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions were part of the 2016 and 2017 IPL seasons as Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were suspended for 2 years. These two franchises were allowed to draft a maximum of five players each from the Chennai and Rajasthan teams.
Out of the 351 cricketers from the auction list, 94 were sold at the auction. Another big money move came from Royal Challenger Bangalore and this time it was the turn of Australian all-rounder Shane Watson to raise the roof.
Watson was bought by RCB for INR 9.5 crores. He was picked in order to bring the much-needed balance into their squad but turned out be a disappointing signing instead. The surprise buy of the season was Pawan Negi who turned out be the second most expensive player and the most expensive Indian (also uncapped at that time) with Delhi Daredevils spending INR 8.5 crores for him.
#10: 2017 - Ben Stokes (Rising Pune Supergiants) - INR 14.5 Crores
Out of the 351 players shortlisted, 66 players were sold. The English duo of Ben Stokes and Tymal Mills generated the most frenzy among the bidding franchises. While Stokes was bought by Rising Pune Supergiants for INR 14.5 crores, Royal Challengers Bangalore spent INR 12 crores for Mills.
Karn Sharma (Mumbai Indians) was the most expensive Indian player whereas Thangarasu Natarajan (Kings XI Punjab) was the most expensive among uncapped players. Stokes was exceptional for Rising Pune Supergiants as they finished runners-up.
In the 2017 season, Stokes bagged the Most Valuable Player of the Season award. He scored 316 runs at an average of 31.6 and took 12 wickets from 12 matches. It was one of the rare occasions where the most expensive player turned out to be a roaring success.
#11: 2018 - Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals) - INR 12.5 Crores
All teams were allowed to retain a maximum of three players for the 11th IPL season. Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals returned to IPL in 2018 by replacing Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions. The returning franchises were allowed to retain players from their respective 2015 squads who were not part of the squads of any of the other six teams in 2017.
169 players (113 Indians and 56 from overseas) were sold at the auction. Rajasthan Royals topped the expensive buyers' list by roping in Ben Stokes for INR 12.5 crores and Jaydev Unadkat for INR 11.5 crores.
Among uncapped players, Krunal Pandya (Mumbai Indians) was the most expensive signing at INR 8.8 crores. Both Stokes and Unadkat were unable to replicate their performance from the previous year and disappointed for Rajasthan Royals.