5 Most Expensive Players in the History of IPL

Players from across the world have assembled in India to be a part of the cricketing extravaganza – IPL 2021. They’ll be representing eight city/state-based teams that would battle it out for the coveted title and the associated perks.

Team building is an important exercise for IPL franchises. Every third year, they participate in the IPL auction to buy new players and get rid of the unwanted ones. Some franchisees have a reputation for stopping at nothing when it comes to acquiring talent or retaining first-choice players. That speaks for a few players ranking in astounding paychecks.

Wondering who are the top salaried players in IPL? Let’s discuss the top five of them. Here’s a spoiler, four are Indian players, and three are first choice retention and captains of their sides.

1. Virat Kohli:

Matches  Runs Average  Strike Rate 100s 50s
195 5949 37.89 130.46 05 39

No leader board is complete without Virat Kohli. The run machine is the most accomplished player on the circuit and the IPL most expensive player all time too. Kohli is the first choice retention for Royal Challengers Bangalore, earning a staggering 17 Crores per season. A batsman who ranks No. 1 in ODIs, No.2 in Tests and No.3 in T20Is deserves the kind of salary he draws.

His 5949 runs at a healthy average of 37.89 and strike rate of 130.46 make him the IPL’s most valuable player. 2016 was a remarkable season in Kohli’s prolific IPL career, finishing with 973 runs and four centuries at an astonishing average of 81.08. The RCB skipper has a copybook technique, brilliant reflexes and perfect balance that help him execute some astonishing shots and pull off big innings more frequently. However, he’s yet to lead RCB to a title win.

2. Chris Morris:


Matches  Runs Average  Strike Rate 100s 50s
73 589 24.54 157.90 00 02


Matches  Wickets  Average  Economy 4 Wickets  Strike rate 
73 85 23.76 7.87 03 18.11

Surprise, surprise! Morris is the second on the list of highest-paid players in IPL. The South African all-rounder was registered at a base price of 75 lakhs in the 2021 auction. Thanks to an intense bid war among Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, he eventually fetched 16.25 Crores. Rajasthan Royals just paid over the odds to acquire him. He piped Yuvraj Singh to become the costliest player ever sold in an auction.

What made him such a rage among bidders is a fine track record. Morris has scored 589 runs and accounted for 85 scalps in 73 outings. He’s a naturally gifted athlete, capable of generating enough pace and bounce to rattle batsmen and provide crucial breakthroughs. His batting prowess is also well documented with two half-centuries and a strike rate of 157.90. Would he able to justify a hefty price tag this season for Rajasthan Royals? Well, only time will tell.

3. Yuvraj Singh:


Matches  Runs Average  Strike Rate 100s 50s
132 2750 24.77 129.71 00 13


Matches  Wickets  Average  Economy 4 Wickets  Strike rate 
132 36 29.91 7.43 02 24.13

India’s batting mainstay for over a decade, Yuvraj was all about elegance, giving us many a moment to cherish his entire career. Those magnificent cover drives, sharp cuts to the point region and wristy drop kicks were the stuff of legend. His ability to consistently dispatch even decent balls over the fence made him the world’s most feared middle order bat in his playing days. His six sixes in six balls in 2007 and 12-ball half-century are etched in cricket lovers’ memories.

Yuvraj’s IPL career is equally impressive with 2750 runs at an average of 24.77 and a strike rate of 129.71 in 132 games. Add to it 36 scalps at an economy of 7.43, he was a genuine all-rounder who could make a difference with both bat and ball. Yuvraj earned a 16 Crore contract in 2015 with Delhi Daredevils, becoming IPL most expensive player all time back then. However, the following year, he shifted to Sunrisers Hyderabad to be a part of the title-winning team.

4. Mahindra Singh Dhoni:

Matches  Runs Average  Strike Rate 100s 50s
207 4650 40.43 136.52 00 23

The legend of MS Dhoni has just grown over the years. Agile and composed, Dhoni can take bowlers to the cleaners with calculated aggression and brilliant stroke play. Adapting to match situations and playing conditions came naturally to him. Dhoni’s sharp cricketing brain and the ability to marshal his resources well make him one of the game’s successful captains. His skills behind the wicket are second to none either.

Dhoni has led CSK to three titles and four runners up finishes. As a batsman too, he has set precedents for the rest to follow. In 207 games, he has accumulated 4650 runs at a strike rate of 136.52. His average of 40.43 suggests how consistent he has been all through his career. CSK couldn’t afford to lose Dhoni as a leader and a batsman and hence, retained him for 15 Crores. That makes him the fourth-highest salaried player ever, alongside Indian vice-captain, Rohit Sharma.

5. Rohit Sharma:

Matches  Runs Average  Strike Rate 100s 50s
203 5324 31.31 130.61 01 39

Perhaps the world’s most talented batsman and a shrewd leader, Rohit Sharma has been in the scheme of things for Mumbai Indians since 2011. He took over the reins from Ponting and transformed a struggling team into a winning unit. Under him, MI has won five titles, two in a row. He’s leading his side into the 2020 edition as defending champion and a firm title favourite.

As one of the most prolific scorers, Rohit has scored 5324 runs in 203 IPL matches at an average of 31.31 with one century and 39 half-centuries. Unsurprisingly, he is the first choice retention for MI for a fee of 15 Crores per season, placing him joint-fourth on the list of IPL most expensive players of all time. Rohit was also a stand out performer for the now-defunct Deccan Chargers, helping it win its maiden IPL title in 2009.

Table 01: All-time most expensive players:

Rank Player Salary Team Year
1. Virat Kohli 17 Crores Royal Challengers Bangalore 2021
2. Chris Morris  16.25 Crores Rajasthan Royals  2021
3. Yuvraj Singh 16 Crores Delhi Daredevils 2015
4. Mahindra Singh Dhoni 15 Crores  Chennai Super kings  2021
5. Rohit Sharma  15 Crores  Mumbai Indians  2021

Table 02: Most expensive players in 2021 Auction:

Rank Player Salary Team
1. Chris Morris  16.25 Crores Rajasthan Royals 
2. Kyle Jamieson 15 Crores Royal Challengers Bangalore
3. Glenn Maxwell  14.25 Crores Royal Challengers Bangalore
4. Jhye Richardson 14 Crore Punjab Kings
5. Krishnappa Gowtham  9.25 Crore Chennai Super Kings

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