Australian pace ace Mitchell Starc has smashed Pat Cummins’ mark for the highest-paid player in the Indian Premier League auction to earn $4.42 million.
During a bonkers auction in Dubai on Tuesday, Starc was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for a staggering $4.42 million (24.75 crore).
After skipping the lucrative T20 tournament since 2015 due to a combination of injury and workload, the fast bowler is making up for lost time.
Starc and wife Alyssa Healy, Australian women’s cricket captain, recently bought a property in northern Sydney for a reported $24.5 million.
Australian hierarchy have encouraged players to take part in next year’s IPL ahead of the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States in June.
The Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans all attempted to snare Starc, but it was the Knight Riders who came out on top for the rights to the 33-year-old during a fierce bidding war.
It came after Cummins capped off a massive year by earning a whopping $3.67 million (20.5 crore) contract when he was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Cummins flew past the previous Australian benchmark, set by allrounder Cameron Green’s $3.15 million price last year.
He will team up with World Cup hero Travis Head after the explosive left-hander was also snapped up by the Sunrisers for $1.22 million.
“Pumped to be joining SRH for the upcoming IPL season,” Cummins said in a video on the Sunrisers’ Instagram page.
“I’ve heard a lot about the Orange Army. I’ve played in Hyderabad a few times and loved it, so can’t wait to get started.
“Great to see another Aussie in Trav Head over there as well.
“I think we are going to have a lot of fun this season and hopefully plenty of success.”
After sitting out this year’s IPL because of a packed international schedule, Cummins was hot property after leading Australia to an upset ODI World Cup final victory over India in Ahmedabad last month.
However, the other member of Australia’s pace attack, Josh Hazlewood, went unsold during the auction after recently being released by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Starc and Cummins’ record-breaking sums overshadowed Head earning his way back to the IPL for the first time in six years following his career-defining World Cup campaign.
Head has previously been part of two IPL franchises – Delhi in 2015 and the Royal Challengers during 2016 and 2017.
Star batter Steve Smith went unsold during the auction but has an extensive history in the IPL and is likely to eventually land somewhere as Australia prepare for next year’s T20 World Cup in the United States and the Caribbean.
World Cup-winning wicketkeeper Josh Inglis went in with a base price of $357,000 but was not bought by any franchise.
Australians Mitch Marsh, David Warner, Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Green and Maxwell were already retained by their franchises before the auction.