The emergence of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has seen the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the players making big financial gains. An Indian national player with a Grade A+ contract has a salary of Rs 7 crore, which is the same amount that a third-choice retained player earns in IPL.
Indian marquee players like MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and others are among the top earners in the league. Today, we revisit past seasons and have a look at the top 5 highest-paid players in IPL history –
1. MS Dhoni
The highest earner in the history of IPL, as per sources, MS Dhoni has drawn a salary of 152.84 crore so far. The costliest pick in the first-ever IPL auction, Dhoni earned a salary of Rs 6 crore every year from 2008 to 2010. He was paid Rs 8.28 crore from 2011 to 2013 as the BCCI set that amount for the first-choice retention after IPL 2010.
The amount was increased to Rs 12.5 crore and Dhoni drew Rs 25 crore from 2014 to 2015. He remained a top draw in Rising Pune Supergiant as well and earned Rs 25 crore during his two-year stint with them.
The BCCI once again increased the first-choice retention amount and Dhoni was paid Rs 15 crore by CSK in their comeback season – in 2018. He has drawn Rs 60 crore from 2018 to 2021 with CSK. Dhoni is the only player who has drawn a salary of over Rs 150 crore.
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2. Rohit Sharma
Following Dhoni on the list of highest earners is Rohit Sharma, who has been highly paid since the inception of the league. Rohit earned Rs 9 crore during his three-year stint with Deccan Chargers. His price jumped to Rs 9.2 crore in IPL 2011 auction as Mumbai Indians (MI) were keen to get his services. Rohit earned Rs 9.2 crore every year from 2011 to 2013.
From 2014 to 2017, Rohit drew Rs 50 crore from the franchise – Rs 12.5 crore every year. Since the retention price was increased Rs 15 crore in 2018, Rohit has drawn 60 crore since then. With 5 IPL titles, Rohit sits at the top spot on this list. He has earned over Rs 146.60 crore.
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3. Virat Kohli
The only player to be retained for more than Rs 15 crore, Virat Kohli holds the record of earning the maximum amount in a season. In 2018, Royal Challengers Bangalore spent Rs 17 crore, Rs 2 crore more than the highest retention amount, to retain his services. Kohli has so far drawn a salary of Rs 143.2 crore.
The major reason behind him sitting at the 3rd spot is his income in the first three years of his IPL career. Kohli was an uncapped player when he was picked by RCB in the players’ draft and the franchise acquired his services for Rs 12 lakh. He earned Rs 36 lakhs in his first 3 years at RCB.
In 2011, Kohli was the only player retained by RCB and his income jumped to Rs 8.28 crore. It further climbed to Rs 12.5 crore from 2014 to 2017. And in 2018, Kohli shattered past records after RCB spent Rs 17 crore to retain his services.
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4. AB de Villiers
Kohli’s teammate since IPL 2011, AB de Villiers has been a top draw since his IPL debut. A member of Delhi Capitals (DC) in the first three seasons, de Villiers earned Rs 1.20 crore in IPL 2008. His salary increased to 1.4 crore next year. In IPL 2010, de Villiers drew Rs 1.38 crore.
De Villiers made big financial gains after being released by DC and joined RCB for Rs 5.06 crore. He earned Rs 5.52 crore and Rs 5.85 crore in the next two years, respectively. He was retained by RCB before the IPL 2014 mega-auction and drew 9.5 crore every year from 2014 to 2017.
The increase in retention price saw de Villiers making gains and he has been earning Rs 11 crore since IPL 2018. The only overseas player to earn over Rs 100 crore, de Vlliers has drawn a salary of Rs 102.5 crore.
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5. Suresh Raina
The final player on the list, Suresh Raina has earned Rs 99.74 crore. He could have breached the 100 crore-mark this year but he missed IPL 2020 due to personal reasons. Raina earned Rs 2.6 crore every year from 2008 to 2010. He drew Rs 5.98 crore from 2011 to 2013.
Raina was retained by CSK in 2014 and his salary increased to Rs 9.5 crore in IPL 2014 and 2015. He earned the same amount in IPL 2016 and drew Rs 12.5 crore next year. CSK’s second-choice retained player, Raina earned Rs 11 crore in IPL 2018, 2019 and 2021.