IPL: Hardik Pandya likely to return to Mumbai, will Gujarat let him go?
New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) Hardik Pandya is all set to leave Indian Premier League franchise (IPL) Gujarat Titans to return to his old home Mumbai Indians where he started his journey back in 2015, said reports.
As quoted by ESPNcricinfo, the trade will be in an all-cash deal comprising Mumbai paying INR 15 crore ($1.8 million approx.) as Hardik's salary and an undisclosed transfer fee to Titans. Hardik stands to earn upto 50% of the transfer fee.
However, source privy to Gujarat Titans after growing rumours has claimed that they can't afford losing Hardik after two great seasons. If the deal goes through it will possibly be the biggest player trade in IPL history. Neither franchise has yet made any public comment on the trade though.
Also Hardik will become the third captain to be traded after R Ashwin moved from Punjab Kings to Delhi Capitals, and Rajasthan Royals traded Ajinkya Rahane also to Capitals, in 2020.
The biggest challenge for Mumbai Indians will be having adequate purse for the trade. After the last auction, Mumbai had just INR 0.05 crore ($6000 approx.) left.
Franchises will get an additional INR 5 crore ($600,000 approx.) in their purse for the forthcoming auction. This only means Mumbai need to release player(s) to finish the Hardik trade.
The retention deadline expires on November 26 at 4pm IST.
Hardik led Titans to the title in 2022, their debut season in the IPL, and was the Player of the Match in the final against Rajasthan Royals. In 2023, the Titans made the IPL final for the second time in two seasons, where they came runners up to Chennai Super Kings. In both seasons, under Hardik's leadership, Titans had finished top of the points table in the league stage.
In his two-season stint at Titans, Hardik scored 833 runs in 30 innings, with an average of 41.65 and strike rate of 133.49. He took 11 wickets for them with an economy of 8.1. Hardik is currently injured, having suffered an ankle injury during India's ODI World Cup campaign.
It was at Mumbai, where Hardik began his IPL career and developed into one of the best allrounders in the game. Bought for INR 10 lakhs as an uncapped player in 2015, Hardik was a part of Mumbai's title-winning seasons in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.