World reacts to crazy cricket contract
Australia's Pat Cummins has become the most expensive overseas buy ever in the Indian Premier League after the Kolkata Knight Riders paid a staggering $3.1 million for the fast bowler at auction.
The 26-year-old, ranked No. 1 in Tests, attracted an intense bidding war between the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and the Delhi Capitals on Thursday before Kolkata joined in to bag his services for the 2020 edition of the tournament.
Cummins was part of the Kolkata squad in 2014 and 2015 and last played in the tournament for Delhi in 2017. The Mumbai Indians picked him up the following season but he was ruled out with a back injury.
"Absolutely pumped to be back on board," Cummins said. "It's where I played my first couple of years. Can't wait to work with Baz McCullum, Eoin Morgan, back with Andre Russell, Sunil Narine - can't wait to get over there."
England all-rounder Ben Stokes was the most expensive overseas buy before Cummins when Pune paid $3 million in 2017 while Yuvraj Singh, the hero of India's 2011 World Cup triumph, got the highest bid for a home-based player $3.2 million in 2015 from Delhi.
THE SECURITY CRICKET AUSTRALIA WON'T OFFER
Cummins' haul is food for thought for Australian cricket powerbrokers.
Arguably the country's most important player after Steve Smith, Cummins has been pushing for a long-term contract with Cricket Australia, which works on a year-by-year basis.
His IPL payday will provide some of the financial security he can't get from his national bosses and force a rethink from other players, including fellow quick Mitchell Starc who again opted to sit out of the competition.
"It didn't happen this year. They just said they weren't offering anyone longer term (deals) this year," Cummins said in October, of a push that has so far fallen on deaf ears. "I hope (it changes in the future). You can only ask the question and see what comes of it. Like anyone in your job, you want more than 12 months' security always."
Knight Riders coach Brendon McCullum was thrilled to add Cummins to a team that includes England's World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan.
"Two outstanding gentlemen will return to Kolkata Knight Riders! Eoin Morgan with his power middle order game and outstanding leadership help for Dinesh Karthik and one of the game's premier fast bowlers Pat Cummins who I feel was the best player on offer for this year's IPL auction. Welcome boys!"
But some local pundits questioned whether Kolkata had overpaid for a player who might not score as heavily as an all-rounder like Stokes.
Pat Cummins...15.50 Cr 😳😳😳...Worth it...???— Samip Rajguru (@samiprajguru) December 19, 2019
A total of 62 players were sold at the auction for the 13th edition of the world's leading T20 competition.
There was a hefty payday for more Australians with Glenn Maxwell going to Kings XI Punjab for $2.2 million and reigning champions Mumbai paying $1.6 million for paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Maxwell recently returned to Twenty20 cricket after taking six weeks off from the game to deal with mental health issues and was left out of the Australia squad for next month's limited-overs tour of India.
Australia's one-day captain Aaron Finch joined Bangalore for $900,000 while Morgan returned to his old side Kolkata for $1.1 million.
HIGH PROFILE STARS AT THE 2020 IPL AUCTION
Pat Cummins (Australia) - Kolkata, 15.5 Crore ($3.2m)
Glenn Maxwell (Australia) - Punjab, 10.75 Crore ($2.2m)
Christopher Morris (South Africa) - Bangalore, 10 Crore ($2m)
Sheldon Cottrell (West Indies) - Punjab 8.5 Crore ($1.7m)
Nathan Coulter-Nile (Australia) - Mumbai, 8 Crore ($1.6m)
Piyush Chawla (India) - Chennai, 6.75 Crore ($1.4m)
Sam Curran (England) - Chennai, 5.5 Crore ($1.1m)
Eoin Morgan (England) - Kolkata, 5.25 Crore ($1.1m)
Aaron Finch (Australia) - Bangalore, 4.4 Crore ($900,000)
Robin Uthappa (India) - Rajasthan, 3 Crore ($615,000)
Alex Carey (Australia) - Delhi, 2.4 Crore ($490,000)
Chris Lynn (Australia) - Mumbai Indians - 2 Crore ($410,000)
Most bids were expected barring KKR paying so high for Pat Cummins. I think he does not offer much with the bat and needs to be on the money bowling in the Death at EDEN. They have Lockie and Gurney. Interesting selection. RCB have started well. #IPLAuction2020— Gaurav Sundararaman (@gaurav_sundar) December 19, 2019