Unveiling the Most Expensive Player in IPL History Across All Seasons

Unveiling the Most Expensive Player in IPL History Across All Seasons
Most Expensive Player in IPL History Across Seasons 

The thrill of an IPL auction is no less than the tournament itself— seeing your favorite team bidding for your favorite player is enough to spark excitement.

The Indian Premier League is not just a regular sports event— it’s a mega cricket festival. In a franchise sports tournament like IPL, auctions play a significant role as players list their contracts for sale, and the owner bids to buy them.

Over the years, the IPL auction has given the game of cricket many unknown faces who became big names and millionaires. The auction room has also witnessed star players being left unsold and franchises fighting for players and pouring millions and millions to buy their services. As the wealthiest T20 league in the world, the Indian Premier League has seen it all.

Here is the list of players who have won the most expensive bid in the 16 seasons of the tournament.

Most Expensive Player in IPL History

IPL 2008
IPL 2009
IPL 2010
IPL 2011
IPL 2012
IPL 2013
IPL 2014
IPL 2015
IPL 2016
IPL 2017
IPL 2018
IPL 2019
IPL 2020
IPL 2021
IPL 2022
IPL 2023

IPL 2008

Name Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Team Chennai Super Kings
Price Rs. 9.5 crore
Most Expensive Player in IPL 2008 - MS Dhoni
Most Expensive Player in IPL 2008 - MS Dhoni

‌‌During the inaugural season of the IPL, MS Dhoni became the most expensive player when Chennai Super Kings bought him for INR 9.5 crore. It didn't come as a surprise when Dhoni got the highest bid. The then captain of the Indian T20I team, who won the ICC 2007 T20 World Cup, MSD in 2008, was unstoppable— the aura, the performances, the stats— he was the best finisher of the game. That year, leading CSK to the finals, Dhoni amassed 414 runs in 16 matches with a healthy strike rate of 133.54 and an average of 41.40. Under his captaincy, CSK won 4 IPL titles in—  2010, 2011, 2018, and 2021. After playing in all the IPL seasons for CSK, the veteran keeper-batter has taken retirement from international cricket in 2020 and will serve CSK for the last time in 2023.


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IPL 2009

Name Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen
Team Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Price Rs. 9.8 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2009 - Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2009 - Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen

‌‌The England duo of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen were the joint-highest buys in the second season of the Indian Premier League.

The English all-rounder, Andrew Flintoff, was bought by Chennai Super Kings for 9.8 crores INR, and  Kevin Pietersen, the English top-order batsman, was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the same price. But neither of the cricketers proved to be worth the money. Flintoff had his first and last appearance in India’s premier domestic league in 2009. After taking two wickets and playing three matches, he withdrew from the franchise because of a knee injury. Kevin Pietersen also had a difficult season with the bat– he totaled 96 runs in six matches. He last played IPL in 2016 for the Rising Pune Super giants.‌‌‌‌

IPL 2010

Name Shane Bond, Kieron Pollard
Team Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians
Price Rs. 4.8 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2010 - Shane Bond and Kieron Pollard
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2010 - Shane Bond and Kieron Pollard

‌‌The 2010 IPL season saw a mini-auction of sorts with only 11 players ending up in the team shopping cart, with Shane Bond and Kieron Pollard sharing the tag of the most expensive player. Bond was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders and played eight matches for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2010, and the legendary Kiwi speedster had an impactful season. Clinching nine wickets at a decent economy rate of 7.22, he was outstanding throughout the season. But sadly, 2009 was Bond’s only appearance in the IPL. Shane Bond is the current bowling coach for the Mumbai Indians (MI).

Kieron Pollard was bought by Mumbai Indians and had impressed the franchise by amassing 273 runs at an explosive strike rate of 185.71. He had the best figures of the season – 2/24 – for the franchise. The dashing right-arm batter and MI regular played a pivotal role in winning the title four times. Alongshore Shane Bond, Pollard is the batting coach for MI in the  IPL 2023.

IPL 2011

Name Gautam Gambhir
Team Kolkata Knight Riders
Price Rs. 14.9 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2011 - Gautam Gambhir
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2011 - Gautam Gambhir

Following Gautam Gambhir’s match-winning 97 off 122 balls in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka, he had to be the most wanted player that season. KKR went for the big move as the Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise made its highest bid ever– INR 14.9 crores. Gambhir did not disappoint the franchise and made 378 runs in 15 matches with an average of 34.36. Gautam Gambhir also led the side to its twin titles in 2012 and 2014.

Now retired, Gambhir has been appointed the mentor for the Lucknow franchise and the 2023 IPL– along with Andy Flower and Rahul– Gambhir is working as the head coach for the team.

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IPL 2012

Name Ravindra Jadeja
Team Chennai Super Kings
Price Rs. 12.8 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2012 - Ravindra Jadeja
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2012 - Ravindra Jadeja

During the 2012 edition of the IPL, Ravindra Jadeja became the most expensive player. Bought by Chennai Super Kings for INR 12.8 crore, the Indian all-rounder failed to impress the franchise during that season and made only 191 runs and took 12 wickets. Although he was retained by CSK management for the next season at a reduced price of INR 7 crores, Jadeja has been an indispensable part of CSK over the last decade. In the 2023 IPL, CSK retained Jadeja for INR 16 crores.


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IPL 2013

Name Glenn Maxwell
Team Mumbai Indians
Price Rs. 6.3 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2013 - Glenn Maxwell
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2013 - Glenn Maxwell

The Aussie big-hitter, Glenn Maxwell, was picked by the Mumbai Indians for INR 6.3 crores before he became a star player. After aggregating 36 runs in three matches, he was released from the team. The subsequent year, Maxwell played for Kings XI Punjab and smashed a phenomenal 552 runs in 16 games, at an astounding strike rate of 187.75 and an average of 34.50. The Punjab-based franchise again bought his services before IPL 2020 for INR 10.75. For the 16th edition of the IPL, in 2023, the Aussie player was bought by the Bangalore franchise for INR 11.00 crore.‌‌

IPL 2014

Name Yuvraj Singh
Team Royal Challengers Bangalore
Price Rs. 14 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2014 -Yuvraj Singh
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2014 -Yuvraj Singh

India’s white-ball legend, Yuvraj Singh, got the tag of the most expensive player when he was bought for INR 14 crore by RCB at the 2014 IPL auction. He had a decent season with the Bangalore franchise, amassing 376 runs in 14 games and picking up five wickets with his left-arm spin. It was the only year when the Southpaw represented Bangalore. He is also the only Indian player who, twice in a row, won the bid for the most expensive player.‌‌

IPL 2015

Name Yuvraj Singh
Team Delhi Daredevils
Price Rs. 16 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2015 - Yuvraj Singh
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2015 - Yuvraj Singh

Following Yuvi’s incredible 2014 season, he was again named the most expensive player during the IPL 2015 auction. Bought by the Delhi Capitals team for INR 16 crore, he had failed to perform for the Delhi franchise. Amassing 248 runs in 14 matches with a strike rate of just 118.09, Yuvraj took only one wicket that season. He later represented Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Mumbai Indians (MI) before retiring after the 2019 edition.‌‌

IPL 2016

Name Shane Watson
Team Royal Challengers Bangalore
Price Rs. 9.5 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2016 - Shane Watson
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2016 - Shane Watson

The Australian all-rounder, Shane Watson, bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 9.5 crore, was the most expensive player in IPL 2016. Although the Aussie player failed to impress with the bat and made only 179 runs in 16 matches, he was outstanding with the ball. Taking 20 wickets, Watson finished the season as the third-highest wicket-taker. In 2018, he represented CSK and even won the title with them that year.

Watson played his final IPL season in 2020 for Chennai, and in the same year, he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. He stayed connected with cricket and joined Delhi Capitals as an assistant coach before the 2022 IPL season.‌‌‌‌

IPL 2017

Name Ben Stokes
Team Rising Pune Supergiant
Price Rs. 14.5 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2017 - Ben Stokes
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2017 - Ben Stokes

Talismanic England all-rounder Ben Stokes played his debut IPL match in 2017 and was the highest-paid player at the IPL 2017 auction. Sold to now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant for 14.5 crores INR, the English all-rounder justified his high price tag and did well in his debut season. The 28-year-old amassed 316 runs in 12 matches at a phenomenal strike rate of 142.98 and an average of 31.60. He also made 12 scalps at an economy rate of 7.18, returning with the best figures of 3/18. He is also the second player who twice won the bid for the most expensive player.

IPL 2018

Name Ben Stokes
Team Rajasthan Royals
Price Rs. 12.5 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2018 - Ben Stokes
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2018 - Ben Stokes

Ben again won the tag of the most expensive player in the IPL 2018 auction, when the Rajasthan Royals for INR 12.5 crore. Unfortunately, he failed to perform under the new franchise and made only 196 runs in 13 matches with a strike rate of around 120. Presently part of the CSK franchise for INR 16.25 crore, Ben Stokes has been ruled out of IPL 2023 for two more weeks after playing only two matches, which is a big blow for the Yellow Army.‌‌


Top 7 Players Who Have Earned the Most Through IPL
IPL is the sixth most valuable sports league in the world, ranking behind the NFL, the Champions League, and Europe’s four big football leagues. Here’s the list of players who have earned INR 100 crores or more in the IPL.

IPL 2019

Name Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Chakravarthy
Team Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings
Price Rs. 8.4 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2019 - Jaydev Unadkat and Varun Chakravarthy
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2019 - Jaydev Unadkat and Varun Chakravarthy

The duo became an overnight sensation when they shared the tag of the most expensive player in the IPL 2019 auction. Jaydev Unadkat was bought by Rajasthan Royals and Varun Chakravarthy by Punjab Kings for INR 8.4 crore each. Unfortunately, players were unable to impress with their performance.

Unadkat, unable to justify his price tag, let Rajasthan Royals down as he claimed only ten wickets in 11 matches at a poor economy rate of 10.66. During the IPL 2023 mega auction, the Super Giants bought him at his base price of INR 50 lakhs.

Varun Chakravarty, who started his IPL career with a tag of INR 8.4 crore in 2019, failed to make an impact and played just 1 match for the Punjab-based franchise, where he took one wicket at an economy rate of 11.66. Following his failures, Varun is currently KKR’s mystery spinner, and during the IPL Auction 2023, the Kolkata franchise acquired his services for INR 12.00 crore.‌‌

IPL 2020

Name Pat Cummins
Team Kolkata Knight Riders
Price Rs. 15.5 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2020 - Pat Cummins
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2020 - Pat Cummins

In 2020, the Aussie fast bowler made history when he became the most expensive overseas player in Indian Premier League history after the Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 15.5 crores. But Cummins ended up having a moderate season, claiming 12 wickets, with most of them coming in the second half of the season, and made 146 runs with the bat.

Although the right-arm pacer was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) during the IPL 2023 auction for INR 7.25 crore, the Aussie decided to skip IPL 2023 to take some rest ahead of Australia's jam-packed cricket schedule.‌‌

IPL 2021

Name Chris Morris
Team Rajasthan Royals
Price Rs. 16.25 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2021 - Chris Morris
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2021 - Chris Morris

The record of the most expensive IPL player was broken again in 2021 when Chris Morris became the most expensive IPL player after the Rajasthan Royals bought him for a whopping INR 16.25 crores. The South African all-rounder claimed 15 wickets for Rajasthan Royals but had an economy of 9.17. The following year in January 2022, Chris Morris retired from all forms of cricket.


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IPL 2022

Name Ishan Kishan
Team Mumbai Indians
Price Rs. 15.25 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2022 - Ishan Kishan
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2022 - Ishan Kishan

During the 2022 auction, Ishan Kishan became the second most expensive Indian player in the history of IPL after Yuvraj Singh. For INR 15.25 crore, he was bagged by Mumbai Indians. The Indian keeper-batter had a mixed campaign with the bat and concluded his season by scoring 418 runs with three fifties, despite MI finishing last in the points table.

IPL 2023

Name Sam Curran
Team Punjab Kings
Price Rs. 18.5 crore
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2023 - Sam Curran
Most Expensive Players in IPL 2023 - Sam Curran

The England all-rounder, Sam Curran, broke all records when he became the most expensive player in the history of IPL. During the 2023 auction, he fetched a whooping INR 18.50 crore bid from Punjab Kings after he recorded his best T20I figures— 5–10 against Afghanistan in 2022. Curran was part of the winning England team during the 2022 T20 World Cup, and he took the most wickets for England at the tournament and was named Player of the Tournament.

FAQs

Who is the most expensive player in the history of IPL?

Sam Curran is the highest auctioned player, bought by Punjab Kings at 18.50 crore for the IPL 2023 edition.

Which is the richest IPL franchise?

Mumbai Indians, owned by Mr. Mukesh Ambani is the richest franchise with a valuation of $1.3 billion.

Which is the most successful team in IPL?

Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are the most successful franchise in the history of IPL. They have won 5 titles each.

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