Glenn Maxwell will join India captain Virat Kohli at the Royal Challengers Bangalore after they paid $2.5 million for the explosive allrounder in a lucrative IPL auction bidding duel.
On a day when Australian fast bowlers Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith also hit the jackpot when snapped up in big money captures by Punjab Kings XI, Maxwell’s special gifts again made him the Australian most in demand.
After a frantic 14 minutes of bidding, Bangalore had too much financial firepower for the Chennai Super Kings in securing the services of the Melbourne Stars captain Maxwell.
With former Australian Test opener Simon Katich as coach and Kohli as skipper, Maxwell will also play alongside South African master batsman AB de Villiers in a star-studded Bangalore line-up.
Maxwell’s 2021 price tag was the richest of his career in the league, surpassing the $1.9 million Punjab Kings XI paid for him last season when the 32-year-old managed just 108 runs in 13 matches.
Bangalore, of course, expect much more, with their director of cricket operations Mike Hesson saying: “We know how good a player he is away from the IPL … We have other players doing other jobs, we were after that X-factor player in the middle.”
Perth Scorchers’ quick Richardson, the leading wicket-taker in the 2020-21 Big Bash League, almost matched Maxwell as the highest-paid Australian.
He attracted interest from three franchises before the Kings won out over Bangalore with a bid of $2.48 million and they doubled up by shelling out $1.42 million for Tasmania’s in-demand surprise Meredith.
The Hobart Hurricanes paceman Meredith became the fifth most expensive non-capped player ever to be selected in an IPL auction while Punjab went all-in on their Australian purchases by also grabbing allrounder Moises Henriques for $743,000.
Steve Smith, released by the Rajasthan Royals, was the first Australian player to go under the hammer on Thursday.
And after a last-minute bid, Smith found a new IPL home at the Delhi Capitals, albeit on a much-reduced rate to his $2.5 million deal in 2020.
The Test star, one of the world’s premier batsmen, fetched only $389,000 after the Capitals, coached by Ricky Ponting, outbid Bangalore.
Nathan Coulter-Nile has been picked up by the Mumbai Indians for $885,000, while veteran Sydney Sixers stalwart Dan Christian ($849,000) will team up with Maxwell at Bangalore.
The last Australian to be picked up was another quick Ben Cutting ($145,000), on a day when some of his celebrated compatriots like Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch, Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Wade and Alex Carey were left unsold.
The 34-year-old Cutting, who got married at the weekend, will play for Kolkata Knight Riders and tweeted that he was “pumped to be joining such a successful franchise.”
Maxwell was only upstaged as the auction’s costliest player by record-breaking South African Chris Morris and New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson.
The 33-year-old allrounder Morris fetched $2.8 million from Rajasthan Royals after a four-team bidding war, making him the IPL’s most expensive overseas player ever sold under the format.
The imposing allrounder Jamieson, who will join Maxwell at RCB, was then snapped up for $2.65 million.
Among the Australians who didn’t get picked up at the auction were Sean Abbott, Wes Agar, Jack Wildermuth, Ben McDermott, Ben Dwarshuis, Jason Behrendorff, James Faulkner, Chris Green, Billy Stanlake, Shaun Marsh and Josh Inglis.
Among well-known international names that went unsold were England’s Alex Hales, the BBL top scorer, and Jason Roy.