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The Roar


Starc raving mad: Aussie to bank insane $13,000 per ball in IPL as Cummins and Head also go for big bucks

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19th December, 2023
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Mitchell Starc’s decision to make himself available for the IPL for the first time in several years has paid off big time with the Australian star fetching a record $4.4 million deal from Kolkata Knight Riders.

The huge salary eclipsed the record set earlier in the auction when Sunrisers Hyderabad landed Australian captain Pat Cummins for a record-breaking $3.6 million after earlier snaring Travis Head for a seven-figure sum as well.

Rising quick Spencer Johnson also joined the instant millionaires club with Gujarat signing him for $1.8m.

The fee means he will bank an incredible fee per delivery of a shade over $13,000 if he bowls his full complement of overs in all 14 matches for his team.

Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians traded bids early on for Starc before Gujarat Titans got in on the action but KKR were not to be denied and ensured Starc’s return to the IPL after eight years of bypassing the tournament to concentrate on Australian duties will be a highly lucrative stint.

Earlier, Sunrisers competed with Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore for Cummins.


The bidding for Cummins, who sat out the IPL last year, went back and forth until Sunrisers and RCB took it past the $3m mark before the Hyderabad franchise won out, making the 30-year-old the most expensive player in the history of the IPL. It was more than 10 times his base price of around $350,000.

Surprisingly, Josh Hazlewood, arguably Australia’s best T20 bowler, was not taken by any of the franchises when his name was put up for bids in the same round as Starc. Jhye Richardson, on the comeback trail from injury, went for $890,000 to Delhi.

Perth Scorchers captain Ashton Turner ($180,000 to Lucknow) was the only other Australian player taken on auction night.

Head was rewarded for his match-winning efforts in India at the World Cup by going for $1.2 million after SRH and Chennai Super Kings entered into a bidding war, driving up his price to more than triple his base price entering the auction.

It’s been a remarkable year for Head, who was recently appointed a vice-captain in the Australian Test team.

LUCKNOW, INDIA - OCTOBER 16: Pat Cummins of Australia celebrates the wicket of Pathum Nissanka of Sri Lanka during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023 between Australia and Sri Lanka at BRSABVE Cricket Stadium on October 16, 2023 in Lucknow, India. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Pat Cummins. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Head helped power Australia to the 50-over World Cup title in India, smashing a classic 137 in Sunday’s final to propel Australia to their sixth ODI World Cup crown.

The South Australian missed the first half of the tournament with a fractured hand but exploded with a century in his first game against New Zealand.

In Head’s six matches, he scored 329 runs at 54.83, standing up when it mattered most to be named player of the match in Australia’s semi-final and final victories.

Australian teammate Steve Smith was also in the first set of players up for bids at the auction, with a base price of around $350,000, but there were no takers for his services. Josh Inglis was also passed in after his initial bidding process. Lance Morris, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar and Matt Short were among the other Australians who nominated but did not get picked up.

England rising star Harry Brook was scooped up by the Deccan Chargers for $700,000 after they outbid Rajasthan Royals.


CSK made up for the disappoinment on missing out on Head’s signature by landing Kiwi young gun Rachin Ravindra for only $320,000.

Kiwi batter Daryl Mitchell earned a tidy $2.5m from Chennai, Proteas quick Gerald Coetzee was snapped up by Mumbai for $900,000 and Punjab Kings XI grabbed Indian seamer Harshal Patel for $2.1m.