IPL 2020 auction: Kohli to Smith, best-paid Indian Premier League players

IPL 2019 final. Photo: PTI
The player auction for the 13th edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) will take place in Kolkata on Thursday (December 19). Ahead of the auction, the eight IPL franchises released some of their players from last season; the 72 vacant spots thus created will be filled through a bidding process on Thursday.


Even as many big names of the game queue up to be picked up in the IPL 2020 auction, Business Standard lists the cricketers who drew the biggest pay cheque in IPL 2019.


The richest from last season was India cricket team captain Virat Kohli, who has been representing Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) since the inaugural season of the IPL, with a salary of Rs 17 crore. He was followed by former Indian captain MS Dhoni, young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and Team India vice-captain (limited overs) Rohit Sharma, at Rs 15 crore each.


Here are the players who drew the fattest pay packets in IPL 2019:


Virat Kohli, captain India cricket team

Virat Kohli. Photo: PTI

IPL Salary: Rs 17 cr

IPL Team: Royal Challengers Bangalore

Role: Top-order batsman


Kohli is the only cricketer to have represented only one franchise in the Indian Premier League. The Bangalore-based franchise had bought him as a young emerging player in 2008. He showed tremendous growth in the years that followed, learning under the leadership of Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble before being named successor to the then RCB skipper Daniel Vettori in 2012.


In the 2011 IPL auction, he was the only player to be retained by RCB. In IPL 2016 season, Kohli scored 973 runs, with four centuries. However, he has not yet succeeded in winning the IPL title in the seven years so far as RCB captain. Overall, in 177 IPL matches, he has scored 5,412 runs at an average of 37.25 and a strike rate of 131.61, including 36 fifties and five centuries.


Rohit Sharma, vice-captain (limited overs) India cricket team

Rohit Sharma. Photo: PTI

IPL salary: Rs 15 crore

IPL team: Mumbai Indians

Role: Top-order batsman


Sharma is the most successful IPL captain yet, having won five IPL titles in the 12 editions so far. He started his IPL career with Deccan Chargers as a middle-order batsman and was appointed its vice-captain in the IPL 2009 season. After representing the India cricket Team as opener, he was bought by Mumbai Indians for the 2011 season of IPL and later appointed captain in 2013. He won Mumbai's first IPL title in his very first season as captain and later went on to win the Champions League, too.


In 2015, he led Mumbai Indians to win the IPL title again by beating Chennai Super Kings in the final. He also won the Man of the Match award in the finals. In 2017, Mumbai Indians finished at the top of the table and also went on to win the final under his captaincy. After a slump in the 2018 season, he won the fifth IPL title for his team in 2019. In IPL 2019, he scored 405 runs in 15 matches at an average of 28.92 and a strike rate of 128.57, with two half centuries. Overall, he has 4,898 runs to his name in 188 IPL matches at an average of 31.60 and strike rate of 130.82, with one century and 36 fifties.



MS Dhoni, wicketkeeper-batsman of Team India (retired from Tests)

MS Dhoni. Photo: PTI

IPL salary: Rs 15 crore

IPL team: Chennai Super Kings

Role: Wicketkeeper-batsman


Dhoni was grabbed by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for a whopping Rs 15 crore in the inaugural season of the IPL and named the captain of the team. Dhoni, who has led CSK since the start of the IPL, took his franchise to glory thrice — in 2010, 2011 and 2018. After the suspension of CSK for two years following a spot-fixing scandal, Dhoni was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016. When CSK returned to the game last season, Dhoni also returned as its captain.


In IPL 2019, Dhoni scored 416 runs in 15 matches at an average of 83.20 and a strike rate of 134.62, with three fifties. Overall, he has scored 4,432 runs in 190 IPL matches at an average of 42.20 and a strike rate 137.85, with 23 half centuries.


Rishabh Pant, wicketkeeper-batsman of Team India

Rishabh Pant. Photo: PTI

IPL salary: Rs 15 crore

IPL team: Delhi Capitals

Role: Wicketkeeper-batsman


Pant was one of the three players that the Delhi franchise retained for the 2018 season, and he proved his worth both behind and in front of the stumps. In the 2018 edition of IPL, he scored 684 runs from 14 innings.


In IPL 2019, Pant scored 488 runs in 16 matches at an average of 37.53 and a strike rate of 162.66, with three fifties. Overall, he has scored 1,736 runs in 54 IPL matches at an average of 36.17 and a strike rate 162.69, with one hundred and 11 half centuries.


Steve Smith, Australia cricket team

Steve Smith. Photo: PTI

IPL salary: Rs 12.50 crore

IPL team: Rajasthan Royals

Role: Top-order batsman


Smith was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for the third edition of the Indian Premier League. In the IPL 2011 player auction, he was taken by Kochi Tuskers Kerala for $200,000, but he did not play due to an ankle injury. In IPL 2014, he was picked by Rajasthan Royals again and given the captaincy for the latter half of the tournament. He guided his franchise to some significant victories and ensured a playoffs berth. During Rajasthan Royals’ two-year suspension, Rising Pune Supergaint bagged him at the same base price and appointed him its captain for IPL 2017. In IPL 2018, Rajasthan Royals returned to the IPL after its two-year suspension and Smith was again appointed its captain. But he was later stripped of the position over his alleged involvement in a ball-tampering scandal.


In 2019 IPL, he again played for Rajasthan Royals but not as its captain initially. However, quite controversially, he was appointed captain mid-season. Last season, Smith scored 319 runs in 12 matches for the Royals at an average of 39.87 and strike rate of 116, with three fifties. Overall, he has scored 2,022 runs in his 81 IPL matches at an average of 37.44 and a strike rate of 128.95, with one century and eight fifties.


David Warner, Australia cricket team

David Warner. Photo: PTI

IPL salary: Rs 12.50 crore

IPL team: Sunrisers Hyderabad

Role: Top-order batsman


Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) had bought Warner ahead of the second IPL season. In the IPL 2014 players’ auction, Sunrisers Hyderabad bagged him for $880,000 and appointed him its captain. He became the leading run-getter that season, earning the Orange Cap, but his team failed to qualify for the play-offs. He continued to be the captain of SRH in 2015 and led his team to glory with a 38-ball 69 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He holds the records for the most number of runs among overseas players (4,099), most half-centuries (37) and the highest individual score by a captain (126) in the IPL.


After coming into the IPL fold last season after serving a ban for his alleged involvement in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, he scored 692 runs in 12 matches at an average of 69.20 and a strike rate of 143.86. In the various editions of IPL, he has so far played 126 matches, and scored 4,706 runs at an average of 43.17 and strike rate of 142.39.


Ben Stokes, England cricket team

Ben Stokes. Photo: PTI

IPL salary: Rs 12.50 crore

IPL team: Rajasthan Royals

Role: All-rounder


In the IPL 2017 players' auction, Ben Stokes was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant for Rs 14.5 crore. He scored his first IPL hundred against Gujarat Lions in his first IPL season. In the IPL 2018 player auction, Rajasthan Royals bagged him for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore, but he failed to turn the fortunes around for the Jaipur-based franchise. In IPL 2019, again, he failed to lived up to the expectations of his franchise, scoring just 123 runs in nine matches at an average of 20.50 and a strike rate of 124.24. Overall, he has scored 635 runs in 34 matches at an average of 22.67 and a strike rate of 132.01, with one century and one fifty. In the bowling department, he has scalped 26 wickets, conceding over 8.25 runs per over; his average is 31.07.


Sunil Narine, Windies cricket team

Sunil Narine. Photo: PTI

IPL salary: Rs 12.50 crore

IPL team: Kolkata Knight Riders

Role: All-rounder


Narine made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut against Rajasthan Royals while playing for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur on April 8, 2012. In the 2018 IPL season, the KKR team management pushed him up the order and he did not disappoint; he provided flying start to his team on several occasions. Overall, in the 110 matches, he has amassed 771 runs at an average of 17.52 and a strike rate of 168.34. As a bowler, he has picked up 122 wickets in IPL at an average of 23.31 and an economy rate of 6.67.

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