Former captain of the Indian cricket team MS Dhoni has emerged as the highest-paid player in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Being one of the highest-paid players in the history of the sport, Dhoni was the most expensive player for the inaugural auctions of the cricketing league in 2008, when he was bought by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for $1.5 million. Although this is a normal figure today for even uncapped players, it was a big deal twelve years back, and Dhoni had managed this feat months after leading India to a victory in the inaugural edition of T20 World Cup. TTaking CSK to a final in 2008, and lifting the trophy in 2010, Dhoni was the marquee captain for the first three seasons of the league.
As per Inside Sports Money Ball, the internationally-retired cricketer has earned over Rs 137 crore by participating in the IPL, excluding other rewards like those of the Player of the Match, Most Sixes, etc.
According to the report, Dhoni's fee for the 2009 and 2010 seasons of IPL remained the same as the first one, while he earned about Rs 8.2 crore every year from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, the BCCI had raised the first-choice retention fees for a player to Rs 12.5 crore. This meant Dhoni earned Rs 12.5 crore for each IPL season in 2014 and 2015. Having moved to Rising Pune Supergiant when CSK was suspended for two years owing to betting charges against key officials, he earned Rs 12.5 crore for the years 2016 and 2017 as well.
Ahead of IPL 2018, the BCCI had yet again increased the first-choice retention price to Rs 15 crore. Owing to this development, Dhoni earned Rs 45 crore in the last three seasons of the league.
In what could come as a shocker to some, Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma comes second on the list, leaving Virat Kohli behind at the third spot. Sharma earned Rs 3 crore every year from 2008 to 2010 for his three-year stint with Deccan Chargers. For his next three years at Mumbai Indians, he received Rs 9.2 crore per year. Having taken over the captaincy for the franchise and becoming its first-choice retention player, he earned Rs 12.5 every year from 2014 to 2017 and Rs 15 crore every year from 2018 to 2020. This amounts to over Rs 131 crore in the thirteen seasons of IPL.
Virat Kohli, who is currently the highest-paid player in the IPL season, and has been since 2018, has a cumulative income of over Rs 126 crore. When IPL commenced in 2008, Kohli had been an uncapped player, earning Rs 12 lakh every year from 2008 to 2010. Interestingly, he remained the only player that RCB retained in the 2011 season of the league, earning Rs 8.2 crore for the next three years. For RCB, he became the first-choice retention player starting 2014, when he earned Rs 12.5 crore per year for the next four years. Starting IPL 2018 however, the current skipper of the Indian cricket team shattered all records and was signed for Rs 17 crore, Rs 2 crore more than any first-choice retention player. This takes his earnings for the past three years to Rs 51 crore, making the overall total Rs 126 crore.
While MS Dhoni has won the IPL title thrice - in 2010, 2011 and 2018 - and Rohit Sharma has won it a record of five times - in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and in the recently concluded 2020 season - Virat Kohli is yet to take his side to victory and lift the trophy for RCB.