T20 cricket was one of the least popular formats of cricket way back in 2007-08. The legends of the game ignored the form stating the lack of credibility as the reason. Hence, the 2007 T20 World Cup featured a lot of upcoming players. India had fielded a young side as well and the selectors had chosen MS Dhoni as the T20 captain.
This proved to be a masterstroke as Dhoni led the young Indian squad to the World T20 championship in South Africa. The triumph forced the senior players to think one more time about the T20 format. After the T20 WC win, the format became popular in India and BCCI initiated the IPL in 2008.
The Indian Premier League has changed the life of the cricketers as they earn a massive amount of money through their IPL contracts.
Here’s a look at the 10 cricketers who have earned the most money from the league in the last 12 seasons:
(Stats Credit: insidersport.co)
Sunil Narine – 70.2 Crores INR
Sunil Narine joined the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2012 as the owners of KKR were impressed with his performance in the CLT20. Narine made 3.5 crores in 2012 and then received a 20 lakhs raise next year.
His incredible performances in the league earned him a mega-contract of 9.5 crores. Over the years, Narine evolved as a player and by 2018 he became a hard-hitting opening batsman as well.
He formed a magnificent opening combination with Chris Lynn to decimate the opposition bowlers. Kolkata Knight Riders retained him as their first choice player, rewarding him with a contract of 12.5 crores.
Robin Uthappa – 72.2 Crores INR
Another Kolkata Knight Riders veteran to feature in this list is Robin Uthappa. The wicket-keeper batsman was a part of the Indian T20 team that lifted the T20 World Cup in 2007. He has played for four IPL franchises in his entire IPL career.
He started his IPL journey with the Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians in IPL 2008. The Mumbai-based franchise had signed him at a price of 3.2 crores INR in the auction. Later, Mumbai traded him to the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Uthappa got his breakthrough moment in IPL 2011 Auction when Pune Warriors India signed him for a price of 9.6 crores. His earnings increased to 10.50 crores in 2012 before coming down to 9.6 crores in 2013. In his last six years, Robin has earned 32.8 crores from KKR.
Shane Watson – 73.13 Crores INR
Shane Watson’s career has been one of the biggest success stories of the Indian Premier League. He kicked off his career with just a 54 lakhs contract from the Rajasthan Royals. His match-winning performances earned him a 61.4 lakhs paycheck next year.
Rajasthan Royals paid him 57.9 lakhs before he got a huge contract of 5.98 crores in IPL 2011. His price witnessed an increasing trend in the next two years before Rajasthan gave him another big deal. This time the amount raised to 12.50 crores.
Unfortunately, Rajasthan Royals got suspended in 2016. His new franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore gave him a 9.5 crores contract while his price dipped even further in the coming years as Chennai Super Kings signed him for 4 crores.
AB De Villiers – 82.30 Crores INR
The Superman from South Africa, AB de Villiers has been an integral part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He played for Delhi Daredevils in the first three IPL seasons. Delhi paid him a sum of 3.90 crores during the three years.
He switched to Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011 as the franchise signed him for 5 crores in the auction. His price went up to 5.8 crores by 2013 and then came a huge pay raise for Mr.360. The South African earned a deal of 9.5 crores before IPL 2014.
This contract lasted until 2018 and then, RCB gave him another pay raise as his salary increased to 11 crores. Till date, de Villiers has earned 82.30 crores from the cash-rich league, a majority of which have come from RCB.
Yuvraj Singh – 84.6 Crores INR
The hero of India’s 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup triumphs, Yuvraj Singh was always a big name in the Indian Premier League. He was a ‘Gypsy King’ in the IPL as he always kept moving from franchise to franchise.
His IPL career began at Kings XI Punjab. His home franchise paid him 4.25 crores each year. After three seasons, Yuvraj earned a better contract from Pune Warriors India as the new IPL team grabbed his services for 8.28 crores in 2011.
Yuvraj’s breakthrough moments came in IPL Auction 2014 and 2015. First, Royal Challengers Bangalore paid 14 crores to acquire his services and then Delhi Daredevils signed him for a mammoth sum of 16 crores. His price dipped in 2016 as Sunrisers Hyderabad signed him for 7 crores. KXIP paid him 2 crores in 2018 whereas Mumbai Indians bought him for just 1 crore in 2019.
Suresh Raina – 88.70 Crores INR
Chennai Super Kings’ China Thala, Suresh Raina led the run-scorers chart of the Indian Premier League for quite some time. But, he was a bit slow in terms of money-making. Raina’s stock has risen over the years but, he made 2.6 crores per year until IPL 2011.
Chennai renewed his contract in 2011 for a price of 5.98 crores. He continued to play under the same deal until 2015 before Gujarat Lions offered him a salary of 9.5 crores in 2016 and 2017.
When Chennai Super Kings returned to the IPL in 2018, they gave a pay raise to Raina. His current contract guarantees him a pay of 11 crores per season. He will don the yellow jersey once again in 2020.
Gautam Gambhir – 94.62 Crores INR
Gautam Gambhir made the most of his money during his time at the Kolkata Knight Riders. He earned very less when playing for his other franchise, Delhi Daredevils. His IPL journey began with Delhi in 2008 as he played for a salary of 2.9 crores per season.
In 2011, Kolkata Knight Riders broke the bank and bought him for 11.04 crores. This deal changed KKR’ s fortunes as the new skipper Gambhir led them to two IPL titles. He received a pay raise in 2014.
Gambhir made 12.5 crores per season until 2018. Surprisingly, he himself asked for his release from KKR and later, Delhi Daredevils signed him for a meagre price of 2.8 crores. He retired from IPL in 2019. Still, he stands at the fourth position in this list.
Virat Kohli – 109.20 Crores INR
From a contract of just 12 lakhs per season to 17 crores per tournament, Virat Kohli has come a long way. Royal Challengers Bangalore luckily signed him for just 12 lakhs in the Under 19 draft of IPL 2008. He played at the same rates until IPL 2010.
His salary witnessed a massive improvement in 2011 as Royal Challengers paid 8.28 crores for his services. Once again his pay increased after a gap of 3 years. This time, it went up to 12.5 crores.
Virat earned 37.5 crores from RCB in 2014-16 and in the next season, he asked for a remuneration of 17 crores. Given how big a player he is, RCB granted his request and Virat’s bank balance has increased by 34 crores in the last two IPL seasons.
Rohit Sharma – 116.60 Crores INR
The only reason why Rohit Sharma stands above Virat Kohli in this list is his 3 crores deal with Deccan Chargers in the first three IPL seasons. While the current Indian skipper made only 36 lakhs till IPL 2011, his deputy had earned 9 crores.
Mumbai Indians bought Rohit in 2011 for a price of 9.2 crores in the auction. Just like Kohli, Sharma’s price went up to 12.5 crores in 2014 because Mumbai Indians picked him as their top retained player before the auction. Virat finally overtook him in terms of pay as Rohit’s current contract is worth 15 crores.
However, the Mumbai Indians skipper has guided his franchise to the IPL title four times. They have been the best IPL team of the decade only because of Rohit’s captaincy skills. Thus, the team owners would not be disappointing with their decisions.
MS Dhoni – 122.80 Crores INR
MS Dhoni tops this list because he was the most expensive player of the 2008 IPL Auction. He made 6 crores a season for the first three years. His salary became equivalent to Virat Kohli’s contract in 2011 as he earned 8.28 crores by playing for Chennai Super Kings.
From 2014-17, MS Dhoni’s bank balance increased by 12.5 crores every year thanks to his contracts with Chennai Super Kings and Rising Pune Supergiants. The reason why the two franchises paid him so much was his brand value. Dhoni is one of the most recognized cricket players on the planet.
Besides, his popularity has only grown over the years thus, Chennai gave him a 15 crores contract upon their return to the Indian Premier League. It will be interesting to see how long can Dhoni keep his position at the top of this leader-board.
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