India's Shreyas Iyer fetched the top price in the first round of the auction for the Indian Premier League — the world's most valuable cricket tournament — on Saturday.
Iyer, who stood out with his match-winning 80 in India's 3-0 ODI whitewash of the West Indies on Friday, went to Kolkata Knight Riders for $1.62 million in the two-day auction in Bangalore.
The first set of 10 marquee players each had a base price of $264,000 in the auction, which sets their salary for the 10-team tournament.
Kolkata secured a return for Australia's Pat Cummins for nearly $1 million and chief executive Venky Mysore said they were “delighted” at the two buys.
“Delighted with how the first session has gone for us. To get back Pat Cummins at that price, actually, we thought he would go higher, so happy with that,” Mysore told reporters.
“Obviously Shreyas, a quality Indian player, at the top of the order is a very very long term in our thinking. Couldn't be happier getting Cummins and Shreyas.”
Cummins, who went to Kolkata for a record $2.17 million in 2019 but was released last year, and Shreyas Kolkata have “two solid” options for captaincy after they did not retain England's Eoin Morgan — who led them to the runners-up spot last season.
The auction kicked off with Shikhar Dhawan and the Indian opener went to Punjab Kings for $1.09 million.
Punjab also got South African pace bowler Kagiso Rabada for $1.22 million, the second-highest price for a marquee player.
New Zealand pace bowler Trent Boult also crossed the million-dollar threshold with his $1.06 million signing by Rajasthan Royals.
South Africa's Faf du Plessis went to Royal Challengers Bangalore while Delhi Capitals got David Warner at $826,000.
The tournament's two new teams Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants secured signing Mohammed Shami and Quinton de Kock respectively.
Ten IPL teams have been bidding for 600 foreign and Indian players in the auction.
The 15th edition of the IPL begins in late March, with the final at the end of May.