The Mumbai Indians (MI) are the most decorated franchise in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Rohit Sharma's men lifted a record-extending 5th title with a facile victory over the Delhi Capitals in the final last year.
Like the other successful teams in the league, MI have identified a strong core and retained this group of players over the years. The defending champions have never been a team to sign new players for exorbitant amounts in the auction, and have always been clear with their strategies.
In fact, the most MI have shelled out for a player in the auction is INR 8.8 crores. Here are the 3 most expensive buys by MI in the history of the IPL auction.
Note: Glenn Maxwell was signed for USD 1 million in the 2013 auction, which amounted to INR 5.3 crores (approx) according to the prevailing exchange rates at the time.
#3 Ishan Kishan (IPL 2018 auction, INR 6.2 crores)
Soon after a superb U-19 World Cup campaign, skipper Ishan Kishan was signed by the Gujarat Lions for INR 35 lakhs. And despite a couple of average campaings in the league, he made his way to MI for a whopping INR 6.2 crores in the IPL 2018 auction.
The youngster had a stop-start IPL career in his first two seasons with MI. Just like he did at GL, Kishan often struggled to convert starts into big scores and threw his wicket away in frustrating fashion after getting his eye in.
But a switch seemed to flick in the 2020 IPL, as he finished the season as the team's leading run-getter with 516 runs. He also earned a call-up to the Indian T20I squad, and even won the Man of the Match award on debut.
MI will want to retain Kishan, but that'll be a difficult task ahead of next year's mega-auction.
#2 Nathan Coulter-Nile (IPL 2020 auction, INR 8 crores)
Despite missing the 2019 IPL with injury, Nathan Coulter-Nile grabbed a massive INR 8 crore bid from MI in the 2020 auction. The Aussie all-rounder had a rather indifferent campaign in the UAE, as he scalped only 5 wickets in 7 games and seemed a touch out of shape.
Coulter-Nile was then released by MI ahead of the IPL 2021 auction, but they brought him back on a cheaper contract. He has taken 41 wickets in 33 IPL matches at an economy rate of 7.71, and it can be argued that we haven't seen the best of him in the league.
Coulter-Nile will have a key role to play for MI in IPL 2021 alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
#1 Krunal Pandya (IPL 2018 auction, INR 8.8 crores)
Ahead of IPL 2018, MI made Krunal Pandya the most expensive uncapped player in the history of the auction by signing him for INR 8.8 crores - a record that stood until the Chennai Super Kings snapped up Krishnappa Gowtham for INR 9.25 crores earlier this year.
Alongside brother Hardik, Krunal has been one of MI's most consistent performers since initially joining the team for INR 2 crores in IPL 2016. The all-rounder has scored 1,000 runs for the team in 71 appearances, and has taken 46 wickets at an economy rate of 7.26.
Krunal earned a call-up to the Indian T20I squad back in 2018, and made his ODI debut for the country yesterday.