$2.4 million men: Smith and Warner’s record payday
STEVE Smith and David Warner picked $AUD 2.4 million contracts overnight, with the Aussie skipper and his deputy retained by their franchises for the upcoming Indian Premier League.
No Australian has ever made so much in a single season in the IPL, with Shane Warne's $2.01m contract with the Rajasthan Royals in 2011 the previous benchmark.
Ben Stokes' $2.8m season with Rising Pune Supergiant last year remains the record for a foreign player.
Scarily, neither Smith nor Warner was the highest earner on the retention list, with Virat Kohli securing a record-breaking $3.4m deal with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Kohli's 17 crore ($3.4 million) season will be the most lucrative in IPL history, surpassing the 16 crore Yuvraj Singh picked up with the Delhi Daredevils in 2015.
This year's auction - January 27-28 in Bengaluru - will be the biggest the competition has seen, with each team given a bumper salary cap of INR 80 crore ($16m) and tasked with rebuilding their squads from close to scratch..
For the 11th season of the IPL each franchise has been stripped of the bulk of its players - teams can only hold onto the services of five of their stars via a combination of pre-auction retention and right-to-match cards during the auction.
With INR 12 crore contracts, Smith and Warner were the highest earners among the six non-Indian players retained at last night's IPL event. The latter will continue his five-year stay with Sunrisers Hyderabad, while Smith will return to the Rajasthan Royals. Smith has spent the two previous seasons with Pune, which has now been made defunct and replaced by Rajasthan. The Royals were banned for two years on corruption charges.
AB de Villiers picked up the next most lucrative deal among non-Indian players (INR 11 crore, $2.2m).
The South African has signed on for another season with Bangalore, alongside Kohli and Indian wunderkind Sarfaraz Khan (INR 1.75 crore, $341,000).
Smith was the only player retained by Rajasthan, while Sunrisers also held onto Bhuvneshwar Kumar (INR 8.5 crore, $1.7m), the highest wicket-taker in each of the past two seasons.
Kohli is one of three Indians now in the $3m club, with MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings) and Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) picking up $3m deals (INR 15 crore).
Chris Morris (Delhi Daredevils, INR 7.1 crore, $1.4m), Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders, 8.5 crore, $1.7m) and Andre Russell (Kolkata, INR 7 crore, $1.4m) were the other non-Indian players retained.
IPL PLAYERS RETAINED
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (INR 15 crore, $3.01m), Suresh Raina (INR 11 crore, $2.21m), Ravindra Jadeja (INR 7 crore, $1.41m)
Delhi Daredevils: Rishabh Pant (INR 8 crore, $1.61m), Chris Morris (INR 7.1 crore, $1.43m), Shreyas Iyer (INR 7 crore, $1.41m)
Kings XI Punjab: Axar Patel (INR 6.75 crore, $1.35m)
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine (INR 8.5 crore, $1.71m), Andre Russell (INR 7 crore, $1.41m)
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma (INR 15 crore, $3.01m), Haridk Pandya (INR 11 crore, $2.21m), Jasprit Bumrah (INR 7 crore, $1.41m)
Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith (INR 12 crore, $2.41m)
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli (INR 17 crore, $3.42m), AB de Villiers (INR 11 crore, $2.21m), Sarfaraz Khan (INR 1.75 crore, $341,000)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (INR 12 crore, $2.41m), Bhuvneshwar Kumar (INR 8.5 crore, $1.71m)