India batting star KL Rahul has been signed by new IPL franchise Lucknow for a cool INR 17 crore (approx £1.68m), making him the joint highest paid player in the competition’s history.
Virat Kohli was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the same amount in 2018.
The IPL will conduct a mega auction next month when a host of star names will go under the hammer and move teams. However, the two new teams have been allowed to pre-sign three players who were unattached elsewhere.
Lucknow have also gone for Australian T20 World Cup winning all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi.
Ahmedabad have recruited India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and appointed him as their inaugural captain, also adding Afghanistan leggie Rashid Khan and India opener Shubman Gill.
Both Pandya and Khan have been signed for INR 15 crore (approx £1.49m).
Opener Rahul was the third leading run-scorer in last season’s IPL with 626 for Punjab Kings, who opted not to retain him.
The IPL auction is scheduled to take place on February 12 and 13 ahead of the start of the competition in early April.
A host of England players will be up for grabs.
But Joe Root and Ben Stokes have both opted against getting involved, instead prioritising early summer county cricket with Yorkshire and Durham prior to the start of England’s home summer Tests.