While North America prefers to focus on baseball, football and basketball, cricket has been steadily growing in popularity overseas and has become the number one team sport in much of England, Southern Africa and especially India. Although the sport has been popular since the 18th century, the IPL or Indian Premier League was founded in 2008. While not as extravagant as many North American franchises, IPL cricket organizations have been attracting investors who are willing to drop millions of dollars in the sport. For instance, Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited (an Indian newspaper) was paying around $1.37 million a year over five years to own the Deccan Chargers cricket team in Hyderabad. After that franchise was terminated, a new one was created in Sunrisers Hyderabad which is currently making a profit of around $730,000 a year.
However, not all teams are making profits. During 2011-12, the Kings XI Punjab team lost around $250,000 by the end of the season. While this might not sound like a good deal of money, it is significant when you take a look at the salaries that players in the IPL are making.
The fact is that each individual IPL team has a $12.5 million salary cap. This includes money to pay for all 33 players with a possible 11 of them being foreign to India. That leaves room for an average salary of around $380,000 for each player. Amazingly enough, many teams go under the cap such as the Pune Warriors who spent just $8.5 million and the Royal Challengers Bangalore who are right behing them with $9.7 million in total salary in 2013. That’s less than one third of what Alex Rodriguez alone is making with the New York Yankees this season.
But this doesn’t mean that every cricket player in the IPL is making peanuts (although some surely are). In order to pay the superstars their millions of dollars, other players must suffer. For instance, in 2013 the Chennai Super Kings paid Jason Holder from the West Indies only $20,000. Meanwhile, on the higher end of the scale, the Pune Warriors paid $675,000 out to Abhishek Nayar and $400,000 to Michael Clarke.
This listing covers the very elite players in the Indian Premier League whose salaries reflect their high level of performance on the field. These top ten highest-paid cricket players are making millions from their 2013 salaries. All totals are listed in American dollars.
10. Virender Sehwag – Delhi Daredevils – $1.7 Million
Virender Sehwag of the Delhi Daredevils is also one of the more experienced players on the Indian national team. As a member of the Daredevils since 2008, Sehwag has close to 2,400 runs and over 1,500 balls, having scored an impressive 569 runs in the 2012 season alone. His power on the field has helped earn him a salary of $1.7 million during the past season while playing for Delhi.
9. Sachin Tendulkar – Mumbai Indians – $1.8 Million
Sachin Tendulkar is getting $1.8 million this year for his play with the Mumbai Indians squad. His 118.21 strike rate in the past year is impressive, but not nearly as much as the $15 million he is earning from his sixteen different sponsorship deals. In fact, he refused a $4 million offer to endorse United Breweries because he does not deal with alcohol products. Still, his 2013 numbers aren’t as strong as they were in 2010 when he had 768 runs for the year.
8. Irfan Pathan – Delhi Daredevils – $1.9 Million
As another star with the Delhi Daredevils, Irfan Pathan has a career bowling average of around 31, a number he has matched in many test matches with India’s national team. His $1.9 million salary is due in part to his improved batting and bowling totals with a 22.35 batting average in the last six years while playing for Delhi and Kings XI Punjab in the IPL. Pathan injured his knee during the Ranji Trophy opener in 2012 and made his comeback with the Daredevils in March 2013.
7. Rohit Sharma – Mumbai Indians – $2 Million
Rohit Sharma has recently proven himself to be a stud for the Mumbai Indians. He had a total of four fifties during the 2013 season and had one century alongside three more fifties in 2012. Sharma helped lead the Indians to the 2013 title, defeating the Channai Super Kings and avenging their loss to the team in the 2010 finals. His proficiency and productivity have not only made him the captain of the Indians but have also helped him to seal a total of around $2 million a year for his work.
6. Chris Gayle – Royal Challengers Bangalore – $2 Million
As one of the top foreign stars in the IPL, Chris Gayle was a captain of the West Indies test side and is now on Jamaica’s national team. With a total of eleven centuries in his career, Gayle has been in high demand. His $2 million from the Royal Challengers Bangalore is just a small percentage of his yearly earnings. He has a net worth of $15 million thanks to his contracts with the Challengers, Dhaka Gladiators and Sydney Thunder.
5. Ravindra Jadeja – Chennai Super Kings – $2 Million
RA Jadeja only earned $950,000 in 2011 when he was acquired by the Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Today he plays for the Chennai Super Kings and earns more than double his salary from two years ago. In fact, he was worth around $600,000 more than the next player in the 2012 auction. His base price was $100,000 but his strong bowling average and constant gains in productivity over the course of his career show that he clearly has a huge upside.
4. Yusuf Pathan – Kolkata Knight Riders – $2.1 Million
Yusuf Pathan signed with the Rajasthan Royals in 2007 for only $475,000. He was taken by the Kolkata Knight Riders in a 2011 auction and became one of the highest-paid players in IPL auction history with a $2.1 million salary. Pathan’s efforts have made him into a big star in India and have helped earn him a spot on the country’s national cricket team. His career hasn’t been without controversy, though. In May 2013 Pathan became the first batsman to be given out for obstructing the field in Twenty20 cricket during Match No. 65 of Pepsi IPL 2013 against Pune Warriors India.
3. Robin Uthappa – Pune Warriors – $2.1 Million
Robin Uthappa was acquired for $2.1 million by the Pune Warriors at the 2011 auction making him the second-highest paid player that year behind only Gautam Bambhir who follows next on this list. A longtime veteran of the IPL, Uthappa has netted at least 400 runs in each of his last two seasons and has scored 50 runs or more in four games. Uthuppa has never gotten a century, though, and has not played for the Indian national team since 2008.
2. Gautam Gambhir – Kolkata Knight Riders – $2.4 Million
Gautam Gambhir has been a recent star with the Kolkata Knight Riders, earning more than 400 runs in the past three years and achieving a 25.44 batting average last season. His skills have made him one of the highest-paid players in the IPL with $2.4 million coming his way from Kolkata this year. Gambhir earns about the same amount from endorsements, giving him considerably less total revenue than many other players in the league. That being said, his performance still speaks volume as he walks away with the highest salary on his team.
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni – Chennai Super Kings – $3.5 Million
As the captain of India’s national cricket team and the star of the Chennai Super Kings, MS Dhoni has practically become the country’s face of cricket. While he does get $3.5 million for playing in Chennai, he also earns about $28 million a year from endorsements with companies like Pepsi and Sony. In 2013 Forbes named Dhoni 16th on its list of the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world, solidifying him as a real status symbol throughout the country.
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