Sam Curran has become the most expensive signing in Indian Premier League history, with the Punjab Kings paying £1.85million for his services for the 2023 season.
The English all-rounder was the subject of a six-man bidding war at the IPL auction in Kerala, the battle to allow him to break records.
It was the Punjab Kings, led by former England head coach Trevor Bayliss, who won the race, with Curran also linking up with fellow Three Lions internationals Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone.
Test captain Ben Stokes was close behind as he was snapped up by the Chennai Super Kings for just over £1.6m – a franchise record – while new England batting sensation Harry Brook has fetched £1.3 million in its first auction.
Curran’s stock has never been higher since starring in England’s T20 World Cup triumph in Australia last month, picking up player of the tournament and player of the final double – and his name was on everyone’s lips when the bidding started in Kerala.
They went for 18.5 crore Indian rupees, a figure that translates to around £1.85million and represents a life-changing payday for the Surrey man. The previous record amount at an IPL auction was held by Chris Morris of South Africa, who fetched 16.25 crore [around £1.6m] from Royal Challengers Bangalore last year.
Bayliss, speaking at the auction, said: “I’m very happy to have him on board, he has a lot of skills with the bat and the ball. We had two or three all-rounders in mind, Sam would have maybe lucky that he came first!
It marks a remarkable change of fortune for Curran, who was released by his former Chennai franchise in early 2021 and was not fit enough to compete in the ensuing mega auction.
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Stokes benefited from the same interest in the all-rounders, while his eye-catching revolution as captain of the England Test team will not have gone unnoticed given the ultra-aggressive style he advocated.
He was previously a key player for the Rajasthan Royals but was a free agent after his release. A broken finger ruled him out for the majority of the 2021 season and he pulled out of the following campaign to focus on his new job with the Test team.
England ace Harry Brook has also landed a big deal, joining Sunrisers Hyderabad for £1.3million in his first IPL auction.
Brook’s rise has been rapid since his Test debut at the end of the summer, working his way into the T20 side in time to lift silverware in Melbourne and hit three centuries in three Tests as he occupied center stage in Pakistan.
He was involved in a three-way battle, also involving Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, and settled for an amount that was nearly nine times his listed base price.
Former England captain Joe Root failed to sell for his base price of one crore, just over £100,000, as in his only previous auction appearance in 2018.
There is still a chance for Root to be claimed later in the team building process.
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