This is what is literally a record-breaking moment in the IPL: Punjab Kings (PBKS) bought Sam Curran a jaw-dropping INR 18.50 crore at the IPL 2023 auction on Thursday making the left-handed England all-rounder not only the most expensive player ever to be sold in any IPL auction, but also the handing him the biggest contract any player has ever gotten in the IPL, surpassing the INR 17 crore contracts that Virat Kohli previously had with RCB and KL Rahul currently has with Lucknow.
Mumbai Indians entered as the first bid for Curran at his base price of INR 2 crore with RCB to follow, and soon the bidding crossed double digits with RR also getting in the fray. MI chickened out at 11.25 crore as CSK entered the race to regain Curran.
RR and CSK both left when PBKS and LSG got the price up to 16 crore. MI heroically entered back at 16.75 crore, but eventually conceded the last bid to PBKS, who welcomed back Sam Curran for a mega-price of 18.5 crore, which is all but certain to be the most expensive player at this IPL 2023 auction.
PBKS had started the IPL 2023 auction with INR 32.2 crore in their purse and spent more than half of it on Sam Curran.
Was it a good decision by PBKS to buy Sam Curran at 18.5 crore in the IPL 2023 auction?
It was Curran’s recent Man of the Tournament performance in the T20 World Cup 2022 in Australia – 13 wickets out of which 10 wickets were in the death overs – where Curran emerged as a surprise death-over bowler, adding to his arsenal of new-ball swing already.
At the moment, it can only be met with one question: will Sam Curran be effective on a belter of batting pitches in India in the IPL, specifically in Mohali, which is traditionally a very high-scoring ground in T20 cricket?
His lengths in Australia – back of length and short – were effective because of the large side boundaries. But that won’t be the case in India in the IPL.
However, some other factors apart from his bowling – a young age, batting ability, and potential leadership role – make him a complete package, someone perhaps worth spending big on.
Curran is a great buy, and Punjab could afford him. He’s in form, is a multi-dimensional cricket, and could be the X-factor that Punjab have needed all these years to push for an IPL title.
Our verdict: Sam Curran, for PBKS at 18.5 crore, is a decent buy who is likely to be ineffective on Indian pitches and grounds.
PBKS Current squad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Jonny Bairstow, Raj Bawa, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Ellis, Shahrukh Khan, Liam Livingstone, Kagiso Rabada, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Prabhsimran Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Atharva Taide, Sam Curran