The Indian Premier League is one of the most cash-rich leagues in the world. There were a total of 352 players who went under the hammer at the 2017 IPL auctions held in Bengaluru on February 20. And like every year, the auction saw some expensive deals being made.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes became the most expensive player this season with a deal worth Rs 14.5 crores. Before we welcome the tenth edition of the 8-team league, let us take a look at the 10 players who will be paid the most at the end of the tournament.
#10 AB de Villiers – Rs 9.5 crore
One of the most influential and versatile batsmen in modern-day cricket, South Africa's AB de Villiers has built big innings and led unimaginable chases for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He has amassed 2,570 including a hundred and 15 fifties in his 104 IPL games so far.
AB was retained for Rs 9.5 crore by Bangalore due to his batting prowess. This year, he will captain the side for a few games in the absence of an injured Virat Kohli.
#9 Suresh Raina – 9.5 crore
This Indian middle-order specialist has been extremely important for Chennai Super Kings over the years. The batsman has scored 3,699 runs including a hundred and 25 fifties for Chennai in his 132 IPL matches so far.
However, following the ban on Chennai, Gujarat Lions sought Raina’s services for Rs 12.5 crore. However, he will only receive Rs 9.5 crore as an actual salary.
#8 Kieron Pollard – 9.7 crore
The West Indies all-rounder has been a vital cog for Mumbai Indians over the years. The big-hitter has scored 1,751 runs including eight fifties and has also taken 56 wickets in his 93 IPL matches so far. Pollard, for his all-round contributions in the past, was retained by Mumbai for Rs 9.7 crore.
#7 Gautam Gambhir – 10 crore
The Kolkata Knight Riders captain, Gautam Gambhir witnessed a dip in his pay this season. The left-hander, who scored 3133 runs including 26 fifties in 117 IPL games so far, was retained by KKR for Rs 12.5 crore. But he will only get Rs 10 crore from the franchise as an actual salary.
Gambhir led KKR to two IPL titles – in 2012 and 2014.
#6 Rohit Sharma – 11.5 crore
The inconsistent performances by Rohit Sharma in international cricket have been under scrutiny for quite sometime now. But, when in the Mumbai Indians jersey, he is a different player altogether. The opener scored 3,385 runs including a hundred and 24 fifties in his 128 IPL games for Mumbai which is why the franchise retained him for Rs 11.5 crore.
#5 Tymal Mills – 12 crore
Tymal Mills was the second English player to raise the heat at the 2017 auction. He was first spotted by franchises in the India vs. England T20 series, where he bagged some important wickets.
Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab brought up Mills’ price to the region of 8 crores from a base price of Rs 50 lakhs. However, Royal Challengers Bangalore bagged the fast bowler at Rs 12 crore.
#4 Shikhar Dhawan – 12.5 crore
Shikhar Dhawan’s powerful batting makes him a perfect fit for the Twenty20 format. The southpaw played for the Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2008 and was their third-highest run-getter with 340 runs in 14 matches at an average of 37.77.
For two seasons, he turned out for the Mumbai Indians before moving to the Deccan Chargers. He had a great 2012 season, tallying 569 runs from 15 matches. He did not enjoy a very great IPL last year when his side won the trophy, but will be looking to make a mark this year.
#3 MS Dhoni – 12.5 crore
Dhoni, who was believed to be the most expensive player in the IPL, no longer remains the crown jewel of the league. One of the most experienced T20 players, Dhoni was the first pick for the Rising Pune Supergiant in the IPL 2016 auctions.
A batting powerhouse, Dhoni can destroy different bowling attacks on his own. The calm and composed wicket-keeper batsman does not only impress with his batting, but also with his captaincy skills which added much value to the Chennai Super Kings and won them the IPL title in 2010 and 2011.
Dhoni was removed as the skipper of the RPSG earlier this year, the reasons for which are not yet known and Steve Smith was named as his replacement.
#2 Ben Stokes – 14.5 crore
England player Ben Stokes was a part of the most exciting auction of all time in 2017. With a base price of Rs 2 crore, he was the centre of attention during the bidding process. The bid shot up to 4, 5, 7, and then 9 crores before finally settling on an amount.
After a heated battle against all the other franchises, Rising Pune Supergiant bagged the Englishman a whopping Rs 14.5 crore. Stokes became the highest-paid foreign player in the history of the IPL.
#1 Virat Kohli – 15 crore
India’s Test captain has made rapid strides in his career, to emerge as one of the world’s leading batsmen. He is the quintessential contemporary cricketer who plays his game aggressively and expresses all his emotions on the field.
He can perform calmly and consistently under pressure, and has been a match-winner over the last few years. After putting him in charge of the team for a few games in 2012, RCB groomed him as their next captain, which he eventually became in the 2013 season.
Virat continues to lead the side, but owing to the shoulder injury he sustained in Ranchi, Shane Watson has been named the stand-in-skipper for the first few games.