In a stunning turn of events at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on Tuesday, Australian cricketer Mitchell Starc emerged as the costliest player in IPL history. The Kolkata Knight Riders sealed the deal with an astounding bid of $2.98 million, surpassing the previous record held briefly by Australia’s captain Pat Cummins.

Pat Cummins, fresh from leading Australia to victory in the 50-over World Cup in India, entered the auction with a base price of 20 million Indian rupees ($240,473). Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings initially expressed interest, but they withdrew from the bidding war. Eventually, Sunrisers Hyderabad clinched Cummins for $2.46 million.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore vigorously pursued Cummins, considering his leadership qualities, but Hyderabad emerged victorious in the tug-of-war over the fast bowler. Cummins also adds value as a handy lower-order hitter.

Meanwhile, left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, returning to the IPL after an eight-year hiatus, generated intense bidding interest from Mumbai and Delhi. However, Kolkata Knight Riders outbid Gujarat Titans, securing Starc for a whopping $2.98 million.

Kolkata’s chief executive, Venky Mysore, attributed the high bidding to the IPL‘s growth, predicting that salary caps and player fees would continue to rise.

In other notable auction results, New Zealand’s Daryl Mitchell struck gold as Chennai Super Kings acquired the batting all-rounder for 140 million rupees, ten times his base price. Indian seamer Harshal Patel became a millionaire, joining Punjab Kings for 117.5 million rupees.

Also Read: According To IPL 2024 Auction, Steve Smith Will Go Unsold

The auction, held outside India for the first time, witnessed the absence of buyers for former Australia captain Steve Smith and England spinner Adil Rashid. The dates for the upcoming IPL have not been officially announced, but it is expected to take place between March and May next year.