IPL Auction 2014: 5 Great Pay Rises for Returning Stars

Antoinette Muller@mspr1ntFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2014

IPL Auction 2014: 5 Great Pay Rises for Returning Stars

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    The IPL can sort a player out for life. Pick up a big contract and you never have to worry about money again. Yuvraj Singh commanded the highest price at the 2014 IPL auction and while he fetched an impressive pay rise, he's not the only one.

    Here's a list of five players whose stocks have risen considerably this time around and now all that remains to be seen is whether they'll deserve it when the action gets underway in May.

    Data, records taken from the official IPL website and ESPNCricinfo, unless otherwise linked.

5. Steve Smith

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Fee in 2011: Kochi Tuskers Kerala, $200,000
    Fee in 2014: Rajasthan Royals $666,000
    Difference: $466,000

    Steve Smith's arrival on the IPL scene, just like the Test cricket scene in general, was something of a false dawn. 

    He was signed by Kochi Tuskers Kerala in 2011 for $200,000, having made his Australia debut the previous summer. But injury put paid to that season, and his Test career also hit the skids.

    During the ongoing South Africa vs. Australia Test series Smith, now a fixture of the Baggy Greens, admitted in a press conference I attended that his Test debut probably came before he was ready—and perhaps the same was true of his IPL career.

    But that has all changed now. He made his name in the IPL during 2012 and 2013 as a late call-up for Mitchell Marsh at the Pune Warriors (the Kochi team had been disbanded at the end of 2011, and Smith had gone unsold in the 2012 auction), and then in 2013 he established himself firmly in the Australia team.

    The combination of his brisk batting, his sharp fielding and his occasional leg-spin enticed the Rajasthan Royals to shell out $666,000 for him in the auction, more than trebling his last auction price.

4. Amit Mishra

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    Mahesh Kumar A/Associated Press

    Fee in 2011: Deccan Chargers, $300,000 (Chargers became defunct in 2012, and they had most of team including Mishra moved into the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013)
    Fee in 2014: Sunrisers Hyderabad, $791,000
    Difference: $491,000

    Amit Mishra is one of the most consistent wicket-takers of the IPL and in 2013 he became the first player in the history of the competition to take three hat-tricks in the tournament. It's no surprise that he has risen through the ranks with some big pay-rises throughout his career. 

    In a curious move by his team, Sunrisers Hyderabad opted not to retain his services automatically, allowing Mishra back into the auction.

    But they then chose to buy him back—and at a considerably higher fee—proof that they obviously think he's something quite special. Mishra has the second-most wickets in the history of the competition, with 95 at an average of 20.25.

    With such a record it is no wonder the Sunrisers were willing to give him a such a hefty pay cheque. He's definitely worth it.

3. Faf Du Plessis

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    Fee in 2011: Chennai Super Kings, $120,000
    Fee in 2014: Chennai Super Kings, $791,000
    Difference: $671,000

    Faf du Plessis has been playing for Chennai Super Kings for some time now and the franchise liked him enough to give him a pay rise this season. whether that's entirely justified is debatable.

    In 2012, he played 13 games and notched up 398 runs at an average of 33.16, with three fifties to his name, and while he missed last year's tournament through injury, he has not been forgotten.

    However, the IPL is about more than just on-field performances and when it comes to pulling power and being a household name, Du Plessis' reputation now precedes him, as an established member of one of the world's top Test teams.

    He's a crafty T20 player and as captain of the South African national team in the format, he'll be one of the players to watch in the upcoming season. 

2. Mitchell Johnson

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    Fee in 2012: Mumbai Indians, $300,000
    Fee in 2014: Kings XI Punjab, $1 million
    Difference: $700,000

    After the Ashes, Mitchell Johnson has become one of the most intimidating bowlers in world cricket. His fierce and accurate pace has dismantled and brutalised players for the last four months. That kind of bowling was enough to earn him a massive pay rise and a change in franchise. 

    He had a good return for Mumbai Indians in 2013 with 24 wickets in 17 games at an average of 19.12. However, now that he has a new-found vigour and has shown that he is brutal when used in short spells, Kings XI were willing to splash the cash on a star bowler. 

    Whether the power of his bowling rests in his moustache, nobody knows just yet, though.

1. Dinesh Karthik

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    Fee in 2011: Kings XI Punjab, $900,000
    Fee in 2014: Delhi Daredevils, $2 million
    Difference: $1.1 million

    Dinesh Karthik has been playing IPL since the start of the tournament, but he's never really stood out. Last year, he averaged only 28.33 in the 19 games he played, he managed two fifties and accordingly his inflated pay packet is still one of the biggest mysteries of the recently-concluded IPL auction.

    The 'keeper-batsman Karthik did manage 510 runs in last season's IPL and while that still doesn't quite justify the massive increase in pay, Karthik was quoted by NDTV with his own explanation.

    It just goes to show that if you perform in the IPL, you will be getting what you deserve irrespective of whether you are an uncapped player or a capped player or international player. It is about what you can bring to the table.

    Still, nice work if you can get it.