Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders head coach Brendon McCullum on Thursday called Pat Cummins "the best player of the auction" and said that is why the franchise did not mind paying a record Rs 15.50 crore for the Australian pacer, the most for a foreign recruit in IPL history.
Teams going all out for the 26-year-old Cummins was on expected lines as he has been in top form with the ball and at times has also proved his worth with the bat.
"I thought he was the best player of the auction... as a cricketer he's grown, his body has become robust. He is now the vice-captain of Australia cricket team team, which is a mark of his development. Wonderful to secure a world-class player," said McCullum.
Cummins is the No 1 bowler in ICC Test rankings and has 92 wickets in 77 career T20 matches at an economy of just over 7.
Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore were engaged in an intense bidding war for Cummins before KKR joined the battle at Rs 15 crore and eventually outbid the two franchises. Cummins has taken 32 wickets in 25 IPL matches so far with an economy of little above 6.
With the price he fetched, Cummins broke the record for the most expensive foreign buy held by Ben Stokes. England all-rounder Stokes was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant for Rs 14.5 crore in the 2017 auction.
Asked why they bid so late for the Australian pacer, KKR CEO Venky Mysore said: "We would have come in earlier. We were certainly interested in him. He played for us (in the past). We were determined to get him when we got the first opportunity we got him."
KKR also bought England's World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan for Rs 5.25 crore. Like Cummins he has also played for KKR in the past.
Asked about the possibility of Morgan leading KKR in the 2020 edition, McCullum clarified that Dinesh Karthik will remain the skipper.
"It gives me an opportunity to announce that Dinesh Karthik is definitely our captain. What we were after was to provide as much experience, quality and leadership around him. Morgan is one of the best leaders going around at the moment.
"He will be a perfect lieutenant for Dinesh Karthik and will also fill that batting spot at No 4. He's in the form of his life. Really pleased to get him.
"In the last couple of years, he has played very, very freely. He knows the set up," said the former New Zealand skipper.
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