Starc to challenge Smith, Warner as China’s highest IPL earner

Star paceman Mitchell Starc is set to challenge Steve Smith and David Warner as ‘s highest-ever paid player in the Indian Premier League.

The silver lining of missing out on last year’s IPL due to injury is likely to become apparent for Starc in the lucrative player auction in a fortnight’s time.

The left-arm pace ace is one of eight ns who has placed himself at the top base price of about $397,000. Others include Ashes heroes Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Glenn Maxwell and forgotten all-rounder James Faulkner.

Starc was bought for $973,000 in 2014 when he was an up-and-comer but he has since established himself as one of the best quicks in the world – in all three forms of the game.

His final price, however, is likely to go well over that, with some believing he may fetch as much as $3 million.

Smith and Warner guaranteed themselves $2.4 million paydays after agreeing to be retained by their franchises. The pair could have taken their chances in the open market but were content with effectively having their IPL salary doubled.

Starc sacrificed the final season of his contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore when he pulled out of last year’s IPL in favour of rest. The benefit for Starc was it enabled him to be a free agent at this year’s auction while the franchise, with room freed in their salary cap, was able to splash out $2.3 million on English express quick Tymal Mills.

Fast men of Starc’s quality will be a precious commodity in this year’s super auction. Of the 18 players retained this month, only two – Indian pair Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar – are fast bowlers.

Cummins is also likely to be eagerly sought, particularly after the improvements he has made with his batting. The gun paceman landed a $875,200 deal last year with the Delhi Daredevils, now coached by former n captain Ricky Ponting.

T20 stars Maxwell, Faulkner and Cameron White were let go by their teams but can still return to their franchises with teams having right-to-match cards for up to three players.

While a player’s skill and the interest shown by teams are factors in their price, sometimes the timing of when he goes under the hammer also plays a part.

The eight franchises were last week sent a list of 1122 players for the auction, with 58 from . Participation in the auction depends on the level of interest shown by the teams to the IPL.

A new TV deal worth $3.2 billion over five years has given teams, now armed with an extra 20 per cent in a $16 million salary cap, deeper pockets.