Hardik Pandya back in Mumbai Indians after intense drama

Written by Praveen CA

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has completed a sensational trade move from Gujarat Titans to five-time champions Mumbai Indians ahead of the 2024 season of the Indian Premier League. Pandya captained GT for two seasons, guiding them to the title in 2022.

Mumbai Indians didn’t have enough left in their purse to bring Hardik Pandya back so they had to offload a big signing and therefore Cameron Green could also be traded. In Pandya’s absence, Shubman Gill is the front-runner to lead Gujarat Titans. MI, 5-time champions, were left with just Rs 15.25 crore after the retentions were completed on Sunday.

To the surprise of many, Gujarat Titans opted to retain Pandya before completing the trade to MI ahead of the IPL 2023 mini-auction set to be held in Dubai on December 19. GT retained their captain but released the likes of West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph and Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka.

Even as the retention deadline came to a close on Sunday, the trade window is set to be open until December 12. The IPL mini auction for the 2024 season is set to be held in the UAE on December 19.

After a successful stint with GT, where he captained the team to their maiden IPL title in 2022 and led them to the finals in 2023, Pandya has returned to the Mumbai Indians, the franchise where he began his IPL career in 2015.

This move makes Hardik Pandya one of the few captains to be traded in the IPL, joining the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, who were traded in 2020.

As it turned out, it was Hardik Pandya who told the Gujarat Titans management that he wanted a move to Mumbai Indians after which negotiations began.

Pandya’s return to Mumbai Indians is not just a homecoming but also a strategic acquisition for the five-time champions. With former India captain and ex-chief selector Kris Srikkanth expressing surprise at the speculation around Pandya’s return, it’s clear that this move is seen as a huge boost for the team. There is also talk of Pandya potentially taking over the captaincy from Rohit Sharma, which would mark a significant shift in leadership for the Mumbai-based franchise.

Hardik Pandya’s career has been marked by impressive performances both domestically and internationally. He has played for the Baroda cricket team since 2013 and has represented India in all three formats of the game. His international achievements include being part of the Indian team that was the runner-up in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 and winning the Asia Cup in the same year.

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Praveen CA