‘Jadeja was banned in 2010 for something similar’: Ex-KKR director blasts Hardik’s Mumbai Indians call as ‘bad precedent for IPL’

Written by Vipin Darwade

On Sunday, India all-rounder Hardik Pandya moved back to Mumbai Indians after having spent two years at Gujarat Titans where he had led the franchise to a title win as a captain in 2022 before ending as the runner-up in 2023. It turned out to be one of the most unexpected trade moves before an IPL auction given what Hardik had achieved in Gujarat, which subsequently saw him emerge as a captaincy option for India in white-ball cricket as well. While Mumbai Indians fans felt emotional after the big announcement, and the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin saying “MI struck gold”, a former Kolkata Knight Riders director lambasted the decision with a sharp reminder of what Ravindra Jadeja had incurred back in 2010.

13 years back, then-rising sensation Jadeja was banned by the IPL for a whole season after he did not sign his renewal contract with Rajasthan Royals while attempting to negotiate a deal with Mumbai Indians. With the act falling against tournament’s trading and operational rules, IPL reacted with severe punishment.

Speaking on Oaktree Sports’ YouTube show on the IPL 2024 retentions, former KKR director Joy Bhattacharjya gave a harsh reminder to that very Jadeja incident before reckoning that Hardik’s act is a bad precedent for the league. He admitted that he fears that this might soon become a trend in IPL and that franchises should stop entertaining these.

“I do not think it is a great idea for the tournament because something similar almost happened in 2010. Ravindra Jadeja did not play a particular season because he wanted to move on and the franchise had signed him. He had said that he doesn’t want to play for Rajasthan Royals anymore and so was banned for a year because they said that you cannot break the system. If a player suddenly says that take me from the auction but I do not want to play for you…and once you start encouraging this trend then it will not be a good idea to go down that road. That is why it was stopped in 2010. But in 2023, you have allowed this to happen with a big player. The truth of this is once you start allowing it, players will realise that if they can kick up enough of a fuss, the franchise will leave them…I don’t think this is a good precedent for the league,” he said.

Bhattacharjya also reckoned that Gujarat had no other option but to allow Hardik to move back to Mumbai given it was revealed that it is what the player wanted as well.

“Gujarat had two options. They could have allowed him to leave, make some money out of trade and get some money for the organisation which is enough to retain another big name player. The other option is with Hardik saying that he wants to leave, I would get one season of mediocre performance from him. Then he will leave and I will get nothing from it. Gujarat hence couldn’t have made any other choices given the circumstances.” he added.

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Vipin Darwade