Mitchell Starc's sacrifice for family pays off in staggering $4.4 million IPL payday

The Aussie cricket star has previously chosen to spend time with family and focus on Australia rather than chase T20 riches.

Mitchell Starc and wife Alyssa Healy.
Mitchell Starc has opted to miss the last few IPL tournaments to spend more time with Alyssa Healy and focus on Australia. Image: Getty

Mitchell Starc's decision to forego IPL riches to spend more time with Alyssa Healy and his family has been repaid in a massive way. The Aussie cricket star became the most expensive player in IPL history on Tuesday night after being taken by the Kolkata Knight Riders for a staggering $4.42 million (24.75 crore) at the league's annual auction.

Starc hasn't played in the lucrative T20 competition since 2015, choosing to focus on representing Australia and spending more time with family instead. With wife Healy globe-trotting around the world as well, Starc opted to forego about $15 million by skipping the last eight IPLs to spend more time with family.

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The sacrifice was repaid somewhat on Tuesday night when the Knight Riders bid a record-breaking $4.42 million for the Aussie's services. Starc and Healy, who was recently named Australian women's cricket captain, bought a property in northern Sydney for a reported $24.5 million last month.

Alyssa Healy and Mitchell Starc.
Alyssa Healy and Mitchell Starc at the Commonwealth Games in 2022. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

"I'm definitely going back in (next) year," Starc told the 'Willow Talk' cricket podcast in September about his decision to end his IPL hiatus. "Amongst other things, it's a great lead up to the T20 World Cup.

"So a good opportunity to see if anyone's interested in the IPL, then lead into the T20 World Cup. And it's somewhat of a quiet winter next year … in comparison to this winter, so I think a perfect opportunity to put my name in."

Starc was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2014 auction for $888,000 and played two seasons for RCB before missing the 2016 tournament due to injury. He didn't enter the 2017 auction before a $1.8m deal with Kolkata was scuppered by another injury in 2018.

He skipped the 2019 tournament to focus on that year's ODI World Cup in England, and chose not to nominate again in 2020. He admitted he "was a click of the button away" from entering again over the last three years, but decided that a two-month break at home with Healy was too good to refuse.

But with the T20 World Cup coming up in 2024, Australian players have been encouraged to take part in the IPL. The Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans all attempted to snare Starc in a fierce bidding war, but it was the Knight Riders who won the rights for the 33-year-old.

As journalist Bharat Sundaresan wrote on social media: "Mitchell Starc has just earned a paycheque of AUD 4.41 million for putting family, Alyssa Healy and his passion for Australian cricket first for 6 years. Deserves every rupee."

Pat Cummins goes for $3.67m in bonkers IPL auction

Starc's historic deal came just moments after Aussie captain Pat Cummins went for $3.67 million (20.5 crore) in a record-breaker at the time. Cummins' deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad broke the previous Australian benchmark set by Cameron Green last year when he snared $3.15 million, before Starc blew Cummins out of the water.

Cummins will team up with World Cup hero Travis Head, with the left-hander also snapped up by the Sunrisers for $1.22 million. "Pumped to be joining SRH for the upcoming IPL season," Cummins said in a video on the Sunrisers' Instagram page.

"I've heard a lot about the Orange Army. I've played in Hyderabad a few times and loved it, so can't wait to get started. Great to see another Aussie in Trav Head over there as well. I think we are going to have a lot of fun this season and hopefully plenty of success."

Pat Cummins and Travis Head.
Pat Cummins and Travis Head are both headed to Sunrisers Hyderabad. (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

However it wasn't good news for the other member of Australia's vaunted pace attack, with Josh Hazlewood going unsold. Steve Smith also missed out, but the Aussies are likely to eventually land somewhere as they prepare for next year's T20 World Cup in the United States and the Caribbean.

World Cup-winning wicketkeeper Josh Inglis went in with a base price of $357,000, but was not bought by any of the franchises. Mitch Marsh, David Warner, Matthew Wade, Marcus Stoinis, Tim David, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa, Green and Glenn Maxwell were already retained by their franchises before the auction.

with AAP

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