Australia look poised to hand Glenn Maxwell a shock return to Test cricket, with the all-rounder in contention to provide additional spin against Sri Lanka in Galle.

The 33-year-old has not played the long-form game for his country since he featured in the 2017 tour of Bangladesh, instead carving out his place in the white-ball sides.

That has included success in both ODI and T20 formats, with Maxwell a member of the Australia squad that won the T20 World Cup last November, two years on from a semi-final finish at the Cricket World Cup.

But after spin accounted for the majority of wickets in the first Test last week, captain Pat Cummins has indicated the tourists may switch to selecting a single frontline fast bowler for the second and final match.

That would likely see Mitchell Starc drop out, given Cameron Green could be utilised as a pace option, and would open the door for Maxwell, who has seven Test caps, to make a remarkable return to the side.

"He'd play as a spinning all-rounder at number eight," Cummins said. "I thought he was just about the pick of the bowlers in the one-day series, he was excellent. You can easily get 15 or 20 overs out of him.

"If the wicket plays lots of tricks, the batting will be the area where you have to find those 20 or 30 runs somewhere. Last week we didn't need two quicks, but Mitchell Starc's class so we'll wait and see."

Maxwell was a late call-up to cover for the injured Travis Head following Australia's white-ball series against Sri Lanka, and looked otherwise set to miss out following the latter's recovery.

The lack of senior red-ball cricket will not be an issue for Cummins though, who feels that if selected, Maxwell could bring great value towards the tail of the middle order.

"It's pretty different first-class cricket here to what you might experience in the Sheffield Shield," Cummins said. "It's a different pace, the wickets are so different.

"It might not be grinding out a hundred, but a quickfire 30 or 40 would be just as valuable."

The second Test starts on Friday. Australia won the first match by 10 wickets.

Glenn Maxwell was delighted to be able to keep his cool and smarts under pressure after guiding Australia to a two-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Tuesday's ODI with a Man of the Match knock.

Maxwell arrived at the crease at 189-5, requiring 113 off 84 deliveries in pursuit of chasing Sri Lanka's 300-7 in a rain-affected game in Kandy.

The Australian all-rounder bludgeoned a thrilling unbeaten 80 from 51 balls to guide the tourists home with nine balls to spare on D/L method.

Maxwell's knock included 12 boundaries, with six fours and six sixes, reaching his half-century from 35 balls, before accelerating to finish the job and take a 1-0 lead in the five-game ODI series.

"Certainly is [a satisfying knock], coming in when I did," Maxwell said after the game.

"There were a few wickets down and we were under a bit of pressure. To be able to hold together at the end and play, as [coach Andrew McDonald] Ronnie just said, one of my 'smarter innings,' is nice.

"And when conditions aren't as favourable for the batting side, that was really pleasing."

Maxwell's innings came amid pressure from Sri Lanka's Wanindu Hasarange who claimed 4-58 including the wickets of Alex Carey and Pat Cummins with Maxwell down the other end.

"I was just trying to stay out there as long as I could," said Maxwell, who took 15 runs off Maheesh Theekshana in the 37th over to lower the run rate required below six.

"I knew I was going to get balls to score off in my areas at some stage, and I was just trying to take risks at the right time.

"I think when the left arm spinner came back on, I think there was only three overs left, I think that was a good opportunity to try and get the run rate down under six, and then try and do it in the next over without letting it get to the last over because all sorts of chaos could happen in the last."

Australia skipper Aaron Finch praised Maxwell for his decisive knock.

"That innings by Maxwell, that was pure class," Finch said. "Showed a lot of skill, lot of game smarts as well. Fantastic chase.

"We were always one wicket behind where we would have liked to have been. We were always two or three down, when we would have liked to have been able to build a partnership but that was an extraordinary innings from Maxwell."

Virat Kohli returned to form with a crucial 73 as Royal Challengers Bangalore kept their Indian Premier League playoffs hopes alive with an eight-wicket victory over Gujarat Titans.

Titans opener Wriddhiman Saha scored a brisk 31 and David Miller added 34 in a 61-run partnership with captain Hardik Pandya, who finished unbeaten on 62 as Gujarat posted 168-5 at the Wankhede Stadium.

That total was boosted by a late flurry from Rashid Khan, who smashed 19 off just six balls, but the target seemed below par as RCB's openers raced out of the blocks.

Kohli and Faf du Plessis made a blistering start to the chase, the India star reaching his second half-century of the tournament off 33 deliveries with a six against Khan (2-32).

Khan then removed Du Plessis, caught by Pandya, for 44 with the score on 115-1 in the 15th over, before beating Glenn Maxwell for pace and clipping the stumps without the bails coming off with the next ball.

Maxwell capitalised on the reprieve by blasting the next Pandya over for 21 and, although Khan had Kohli stumped in the 17th over, the Australian's unbeaten 40 off just 18 balls saw RCB over the line with eight deliveries to spare.

RCB's playoff hopes now rely on Delhi Capitals losing to Mumbai Indians on Saturday, while IPL debutants Gujarat are already assured top spot after winning 10 of 14 games.

King Kohli

Before this game, Kohli averaged just 21.45 in the IPL this term – his lowest in the tournament since 2008, when he averaged 15 – and had been dismissed for under 10 runs six times, including three golden ducks.

The 33-year-old has acknowledged he may need a break to rejuvenate mentally and physically, but he was at his imperious best here, smashing eight fours and two sixes in his 54-ball 73.

Hasaranga keeps it tight

Wanindu Hasaranga, who claimed 1-25 from his four-over allocation, continues to dominate through the middle overs for RCB.

The Sri Lanka international dismissed Miller with a wonderful caught and bowled to pick up his 24th wicket of the tournament – the joint-most with Rajasthan Royals' Yuzvendra Chahal.

David Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell will all miss Australia's white-ball upcoming tour of Pakistan after being left out of the 16-player squad.

Cricket Australia's National Selection Panel (NSP) on Tuesday confirmed the squad for three One-Day International and one T20 International in late March and early April.

All bar Starc were picked up last week in the IPL Auction with that competition due to start around a similar timeframe as the white-ball series. Warner, Cummins and Hazlewood were named in the previously announced Test squad for the series that begins in Rawalpindi on Friday next week.

Five other squad members have IPL deals; Marcus Stoinis, Mitch Marsh, Sean Abbott, Jason Behrendorff and Nathan Ellis.

NSP chair George Bailey explained that the omissions were due to a variety of factors to "juggle", including the need to manage multi-format players.

"We have picked a talented and versatile squad with a number of challenges to juggle, including the tour structure of predominantly 50-over games, management of several multi-format players in the medium to long term; and our need to build experience and depth in preparation for two short form World Cups within the next 18 months," Bailey said.

"We're confident the squad can both compete successfully on this tour and continue our progress towards those crucial tournaments."

Australia are also due to tour Sri Lanka in June for two Tests, five ODIs and two T20Is, while they will defend their crown on home soil at the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup in October and November.

The tour marks Australia's first in Pakistan since 1998, with the white-ball players and staff to join the Test squad mid-tour.

Australia Test squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Ben McDermott, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa

Australia recovered to claim a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Melbourne on Friday as they opened up a 4-0 lead in their five-match T20I series.

The hosts elected to bowl first and, despite being without rested trio Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, restricted their opponents to 139-8 off their 20 overs.

Opener Pathum Nissanka top-scored with 46 off 40 balls, while Kusal Mendis added 27 off 21, but it was another underwhelming batting display from the tourists.

Jhye Richardson impressed with figures of 2-20 off his four overs, paving the way for Australia to make it nine T20Is without defeat against Sri Lanka, winning eight of those.

That is despite getting off to a slow start to their response as openers Ashton Agar and Ben McDermott made 19 off 25 balls, before the latter (nine) fell to Maheesh Theekshana.

Aaron Finch was snared by Danushka Gunathilaka for just two runs off the bowling of Lahiru Kumara and Agar (26) was next to go when he top-edged to Mendis.

But star man Glenn Maxwell and Josh Inglis all but ensured there would be no joy for Sri Lanka with their fourth-wicket stand of 71 off 47 balls. 

Inglis went for 40 off 20, leaving Australia needing 20 off 22, and Maxwell got them over the line with his unbeaten 48 to set up a potential whitewash in Sunday's fifth match.


MCGlee for Maxwell

Australia have now won five of their last seven T20Is at the MCG, including the last three in a row – their best run since winning four in a row between 2008 and 2011.

Agar's struggles as a makeshift opener will be of concern, but Maxwell's 48 off 39 balls – a strike rate of 123.1 – meant Sri Lanka's modest target was never of concern.

Pathum shows more promise

Nissanka headed into the game as the only player to score above 100 runs this series against Australia (125) and the 23-year-old was again Sri Lanka's shining light in the fourth T20I.

He helped steer his side to 73-1 at the halfway mark alongside Mendis, yet the tourists still managed to squander a promising opportunity.

Five and a half years after the iconic line "Carlos Brathwaite, remember the name" was delivered, England are among the favourites to banish the memories of their T20 World Cup heartbreak.

Ian Bishop delivered those famous words from an Eden Gardens commentary box after watching Brathwaite win the 2016 T20 World Cup for West Indies in dramatic fashion.

Needing 19 off the final over for the Windies to be crowned champions for a record second time in Kolkata, Brathwaite launched Ben Stokes for four huge sixes in as many balls to leave England shell-shocked.

It remains to be seen who will make a name for themselves in the 2021 showpiece, which could not be staged in Australia last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and was then moved from India to the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Stats Perform pick out the contenders and key players ahead of a cricketing extravaganza that will finally get under way when Oman face Papua New Guinea on Sunday.

 

Gayle force to put Wind in champions' sails?

It is 22 years since Chris Gayle made his Windies debut, so there will be no need for a "remember the name" if the left-handed opener cuts loose.

Powerhouse Gayle cut short his latest Indian Premier League spell with Punjab Kings due to bubble fatigue to ensure he would be fresh for the T20 World Cup.

Gayle is the highest run-scorer in T20 history with a staggering 14,276 from 440 innings at an average of 36.79, with 22 centuries and a strike rate of 145.71.

The 42-year-old self-proclaimed 'Universe Boss' has proved to be the man for a big occasion time and again and he could produce more fireworks as a talented Windies squad, which does not include Brathwaite, target a hat-trick.

 

England could be Living it up

England won the last major international white-ball tournament on home soil with a dramatic Super Over-defeat of New Zealand in an incredible 2019 World Cup final at Lord's.

Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer were key to that stunning victory, but they will both be absent as Eoin Morgan attempts to lead England to T20 glory.

Top of the rankings and with the number one T20 batsman in the world in the shape of Dawid Malan, they have every chance of lifting the trophy in Dubai on November 14.

Destructive all-rounder Liam Livingstone can play a huge part, while Tymal Mills will be one to watch over three years after the left-arm paceman's last international appearance.

Kohli desperate to end reign on a high note

Virat Kohli will step down as India captain after the tournament, although the prolific right-hander will continue to play for his country in the shortest format.

Kohli has not won a major ICC trophy as skipper, but this competition represents another huge opportunity to put that unwanted record right.

The highest scorer in international T20 cricket, Kohli could take the World Cup by storm and he will lead a squad packed with firepower both with bat and ball.

Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant are just a few of the other key men for India.

 

Australia to put on 'Big Show'?

Preparation for some of the Australia players has been anything but ideal, having faced a strict lockdown in their homeland.

Yet captain Aaron Finch says they will be ready to go when they face South Africa in their first match of the Super 12 stage on October 23 as he steps up his recovery from knee surgery.

David Warner has been out of sorts, but Finch has backed his fellow opener and Australia have no shortage of potential match-winners in their squad.

All-rounder Glenn Maxwell may need to live up to his 'Big Show' nickname if Australia are to lift the trophy.

Black Caps and Pakistan can mount a challenge, outside chance for Proteas

New Zealand celebrated winning the first World Test Championship final this year and they have the armoury for T20 success under the inspirational leadership of Kane Williamson.

Kyle Jamieson and Trent Boult can spearhead a strong attack, while Williamson consistently racks up the runs in all formats and Devon Conway can make his mark.

Much rests on the shoulders of skipper Babar Azam in Pakistan's pursuit of glory, while the likes of Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada will be key for South Africa.

Glenn Maxwell starred with bat and ball and Harshal Patel took a hat-trick as Royal Challengers Bangalore defeated Mumbai Indians by 54 runs in Sunday's Indian Premier League clash.

RCB's captain Virat Kohil, who is set to stand down at the end of the season, laid the foundations with 51 before Srikar Bharat (32) and Maxwell (56) led their side to 165 from their 20 overs.

It could have been far more, however, if it was not for death-bowling pair Jasprit Bumrah (3-36) and Trent Boult (1-17), who combined well to limit Kohli's side to what seemed like a par score before Bangalore's bowlers fought back excellently.

Rohit Sharma (43) and Quinton de Kock (24) looked to have continued the momentum by putting on 56 inside the powerplay, but the latter fell to Yuzendra Chahal (3-11) before the India opener was removed by Maxwell.

Ishan Kishan and Krunal Pandya quickly followed to the same spinning pair, leaving Mumbai 93-4 with seven overs to go.

Patel inflicted further misery as he ran through the middle and lower-order batters, removing Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Rahul Chahar to secure a memorable hat-trick as Mumbai were bowled out for just 111 with 11 balls remaining.

Brilliant Bumrah and Boult

Bumrah removed two of Bangalore's dangermen in Maxwell and AB de Villiers in the space of two balls to kick-start a miserly death-bowling spell, which ultimately proved in vain.

The India quick would eventually finish with an economy of nine as he managed dot balls with a third of his deliveries, while Boult produced four more dots and finished impressively with an economy of just over four.

King Kohli's captaincy decisions pay off

Kohli seemed to get every decision right. Mohammed Siraj ran straight to Kohli following his dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav, suggesting a plan between the pair had come off before another bowling change paid off as well.

Dan Christian, despite his first over going for 15, was brought back by Kohli and his following set of six went for just a run a ball as every decision Kohli made seemed to turn to gold, with RCB limiting Mumbai throughout the middle overs to coast to a comfortable win.

Royal Challengers Bangalore continued their unbeaten start to the Indian Premier League as AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell powered them to victory over Kolkata Knight Riders.

The sole team yet to taste defeat in this season's competition, RCB surged to 204-4 thanks to an exceptional innings from Maxwell (78) and De Villiers' unbeaten 76.

Their respective displays contributed to three successive partnerships of over 50 runs to help RCB emphatically recover from a shaky start and post an imposing total.

KKR never found the necessary momentum to threaten that target despite a late salvo from Andre Russell (31) as RCB eased to a 38-run win.

Varun Chakravarthy removed both Virat Kohli (5) and Rajat Patidar (1) in the second over to reduce RCB to 9-2.

However, Maxwell and Devdutt Padikkal constructed a stand of 86 for the third wicket, laying the platform for De Villiers to hit the accelerator upon his arrival at the crease.

Maxwell and De Villiers combined for 53 off just 37 deliveries and, after the Australian was bounced out by compatriot Pat Cummins, the South African took command as he contributed 43 runs to a 20-ball, 56-run stand with Kyle Jamieson.

KKR saw a promising start to their reply undone as they slumped from 57-1 to 114-5 when skipper Eoin Morgan sliced Harshal Patel to opposing captain Kohli.

Russell gave them hope of a remarkable turnaround in the 17th over, in which he struck Yuzvendra Chahal for a six and three fours.

He then hit Jamieson for a maximum in the next over but that preceded the exits of Shakib Al Hasan and Cummins at the hands of the New Zealand international.

And the contest was settled by some superb death bowling from Mohammed Siraj in the penultimate over, with Russell then playing Harshal onto his stumps as a seemingly exciting finale gave way to a meek end.

Devastating De Villiers

Having been dismissed for one in RCB's last game with Sunrisers Hyderabad, De Villiers was back to his best with a 34-ball 76. His strike rate of 223.52 is the second-highest of any innings this season where the batsman has scored at least 50, behind Deepak Hooda's 28-ball 64 (228.57) for Punjab Kings against Rajasthan Royals.

Siraj stems the tide

Russell's surge was stopped firmly in its tracks by Siraj, who effectively clinched victory for RCB as his final over went for just one run, producing five successive dot balls as a frustrated Russell kept the strike while unable to find the boundary.

Royal Challengers Bangalore made it two wins from two in the Indian Premier League as Sunrisers Hyderabad's miserable record at M. A. Chidambaram Stadium continued on Wednesday.

Glenn Maxwell hit his first half-century in the tournament since 2016 as the Royal Challengers – who had beaten defending champions Mumbai Indians in their opening fixture – posted 149-8 after being put into bat.

Hyderabad appeared on course to prevail in pursuit of their target when they reached 96-1, only for the departure of captain David Warner – caught in the deep for 54 - to trigger a dramatic collapse.

Shahbaz Ahmed claimed three wickets in an over, including Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey with back-to-back deliveries, to completely change the complexion of a run chase that fell apart.

While Rashid Khan made 17 in a hurry the Sunrisers still finished up six runs short on 143-9, meaning they have still yet to win a completed fixture at the venue in Chennai.

Bangalore's innings had been similar too, captain Virat Kohli making 33 before his departure to Jason Holder started a mid-innings wobble, his team slipping from 91-2 to 109-6.

However, Maxwell eventually mastered the tough batting conditions, producing a late onslaught as 39 runs came from the final three overs. He was dismissed off the last delivery of the innings for 59, caught behind to give Holder final figures of 3-30.

Taking it to the Max

Maxwell endured a lean 2020 IPL campaign in the United Arab Emirates, averaging 15.42 for Kings XI Punjab as he made only 108 runs. Having been released ahead of the auction, Bangalore already appear to be getting plenty for their money.

The Australian has now scored 98 runs in his two innings for the Royal Challengers, who sit on top of the table in the embryonic stages of the season.

Chennai trouble for chasing teams

After Kolkata Knight Riders had faltered in pursuit of a 153-run target to lose narrowly against Mumbai at the ground 24 hours earlier, Sunrisers let the same situation happen when seemingly well on top.

Shahbaz (3-7) bowled only two overs, yet the second from the left-arm spinner saw Bairstow, Pandey - who struggled to up the pace as he made 38 from 39 balls - and Abdul Samad all caught off top-edged attempts to go big to the leg side.

Harshal Patel hit the winning run off the last ball after claiming a five-wicket haul as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians in a thrilling first game of the Indian Premier League.

Defending champions Mumbai collapsed from 94-1 after 11 overs to 159-9 after being put in by Virat Kohli, all-rounder Harshal taking 5-27 in Chennai on Friday and Chris Lynn top-scoring with 49.

Four wickets fell in the final over of the holders' innings at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, with Harshal claiming his maiden five-wicket T20 haul in the first match of his second spell with RCB following his Delhi Capitals exit.

Bangalore were cruising with Kohli (33) and new signing Glenn Maxwell (39) at the crease, but it was game on when they were 122-6 in the 17th over after losing four wickets for 24 runs.

AB de Villiers looked set to see them home, but RCB were left needing two off as many balls for victory when the maverick wicketkeeper-batsman was run out for 48.

Harshal held his nerve to take a single off the final delivery from IPL debutant Marco Jansen (2-28), sealing a dramatic two-wicket win for big-spending RCB.

Five-time champions Mumbai, bidding to become the first team to win the tournament three times in a row, were ultimately made to pay for scoring only 25 runs in the last four overs of their innings.

Late Harshal burst rocks Mumbai

The holders appeared set to post a challenging total with Indians debutant Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav at the crease after Rohit Sharma was run out for 19, but they capitulated in spectacular fashion.

Powerful new recruit Lynn struck three sixes as the Australian and Suryakumar (31) put on 70 for the second wicket before they were removed by Washington Sundar and big-money signing Kyle Jamieson (1-27) respectively.

Paceman Harshal then took centre stage, trapping Ishan Kishan lbw before dismissing Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jansen in an incredible final over that ended with Rahul Chahar being run out. 

 

De Villiers delivers, Harshal the hero

Maxwell put on a show along with Kohli after Sundar and Rajat Patidar fell cheaply, clearing the rope twice.

The Australia all-rounder was on his way when he ramped Jansen to Lynn at short fine leg and the South African paceman struck for a second time in the 15th over to send Shahbaz Ahmed packing.

De Villiers made it advantage RCB as 15 runs came off the 18th over from Trent Boult and although he was run out by Krunal after hitting a couple of sixes in a brilliant 27-ball knock, Harshal ensured his innings was not in vain.

Australia will be counting on the stars of the Big Bash to step up when they attempt to stop the rot in a five-match Twenty20 International series against in-form New Zealand.

Aaron Finch's side go into the first match of the series at Hagley Oval on Monday looking to avoid a third consecutive series defeat following losses to England and India.

The Black Caps, on the other hand, have won their last two against West Indies and Pakistan as they build momentum ahead of the T20 World Cup, which starts in October.

Australia will be without the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc, with 19-year-old spinner Tanveer Sangha set to make his debut and Jhye Richardson back in the squad.

Richardson, Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson should have a spring in their step after landing lucrative Indian Premier League deals this week.

Paceman Richardson has not played a T20 for his country for two years, but gets the chance to put shoulder injury woes behind him after an impressive Big Bash campaign.

There were doubts over Martin Guptill's fitness for the opening game in Christchurch, with the promising Finn Allen on standby, but the dangerous New Zealand opener is expected to be available.

Jhye on a high after striking it rich

Richardson was the leading wicket-taker in the Big Bash with 29 for Perth Scorchers, prompting Punjab Kings to fork out 14 crore (£1.4m) for his services.

He said after going for such big money in Thursday's auction: "It felt like I wasn't watching it. After everything that's happened you are obviously really excited then you hit this massive wall, it was pretty late, I had all this emotion, all the adrenaline, a load of messages coming through on my phone and then completely crashed and felt exhausted.

"I feel like I played a game, mentally exhausted myself. Still sinking in, that's for sure. I think it's an amazing result. It's life-changing to be honest.

Maxwell went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for the same fee, while Riley Meredith will face Australia's trans-Tasman rivals on the back of also being picked up by Punjab. Jamieson will be out to show why RCB paid 14.25cr (£1.5m) to land him.

 

Guptill backed to show class is permanent

Guptill has been struggling with a hamstring injury, but the 34-year-old appears to be ready to start the series.

Although Guptill is comfortably New Zealand's leading run scorer in the shortest format, he is in a poor run of form, but head coach Gary Stead has backed the explosive right-hander to come good.

"Gups is a class player and has been a class player for a long time. Form and what people do while in form can change perceptions so quickly," said Stead.

"But we have a number of people who are capable of playing international cricket and that's exciting for us."

 

Key series facts

- This will be the sixth meeting between the Black Caps and Australia in New Zealand in T20Is and their first at Hagley Oval. New Zealand have won only once against Australia in this format on home soil.

- New Zealand have lost only one of their last five completed T20Is at home (W4). Their only previous match at Hagley Oval ended in a seven-wicket loss to England (November 2019).

- Australia have the highest catching success rate of any Test-playing nation in the shortest format since the start of last year (91.8 per cent); New Zealand have taken 75 per cent of their catching opportunities in that time.

- Sangha took 21 wickets at an average of 18.3 in the recent Big Bash, the most by a teenager in a single edition of the competition.

- Guptill has scored 217 runs in T20 matches between the trans-Tasman rivals. He is just 12 runs shy of eclipsing Brendon McCullum’s record as the highest run-scorer in this fixture (228).

Chris Morris became the most expensive signing in the history of the Indian Premier League as franchises filled out their rosters during Thursday's auction in Chennai. 

Morris was eventually signed by Rajasthan Royals - who he played for in 2015 - following a bidding war that saw four teams battling it out to secure the services of the South African all-rounder. 

His final price finished up at 16.25crore, which equates to around £1.6million, putting him ahead of Yuvraj Singh (16cr) on the list of biggest auction purchases in the global Twenty20 tournament.

"I'm super-stoked, super-humbled to be joining Rajasthan again," Morris said in a video message posted by his new team on Twitter.

"I had an unbelievably good time, and a good season, one of the better times in my cricket career, with Rajasthan in 2015, so I'm unbelievably happy, unbelievably excited.

"We have a very good squad, so joining up with Rajasthan is a very cool experience."

Royal Challengers Bangalore were big spenders in their bid to secure a maiden title this year, getting New Zealand paceman Kyle Jamieson for 14.25cr (£1.5m) having already signed Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (14cr - £1.4m) for a fraction less than that earlier in proceedings. 

Jhye Richardson also collected a huge deal, snapped up for the same price as compatriot Maxwell by Punjab Kings, who added another Australian paceman to their roster in Riley Meredith, who has yet to play international cricket in any format. 

Having been released by Rajasthan Royals at the start of this year, Steve Smith is now a member of the Delhi Capitals, along with India fast bowler Umesh Yadav and Englishman Sam Billings. 

Moeen Ali saw a considerable rise from his base price, the England all-rounder eventually going for a final sum of £700,000 to Chennai Super Kings. 

While a premium was paid for pace bowling during the auction, the market was a little less frantic for batsmen. 

Dawid Malan – who sits top of the International Cricket Council's batting rankings in the shortest format – will play for Punjab Kings, but English openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy both went unsold. 

Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is heading back to the Kolkata Knight Riders for 3.2crore (£315,000), while Krishnappa Gowtham went for 9.25crore (£900,000) to the Super Kings, making him the most expensive uncapped India player ever.

As for Mumbai Indians, the main additions by the two-time defending champions came to their bowling attack as they added Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla. 

The 14th edition of the IPL is scheduled to begin during April and run into May. Last year's delayed tournament was staged in the United Arab Emirates due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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