After steering Gujarat Titans to IPL title in 2022, Hardik Pandya has been bought by Mumbai Indians again. File
In an official statement, the tournament also said MI has traded Australia all-rounder Cameron Green to Royal Challengers Bangalore, with both trades carried out as per the existing player fees.
Sources had been saying to IANS for the last few days that trades involving Hardik and Green were likely to happen even though they didn’t materialise before the IPL 2024 retentions deadline ended at 5pm on Sunday, Nov.26. It is to be noted that trade window is open till Dec.12, a week before the IPL auctions happen in Dubai on Dec.19.
Hardik led Gujarat to the IPL title in 2022 in their debut season, and was the Player of the Match in the final against Rajasthan Royals at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. In 2023, Gujarat made the IPL final for the second time in as many seasons, where they finished runners up to Chennai Super Kings.
“As the first captain of Gujarat Titans, Hardik Pandya has helped the franchise deliver two fantastic seasons that resulted in winning one TATA IPL championship and one appearance in the final. He has now expressed a desire to return to his original team Mumbai Indians. We respect his decision and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours,” said Vikram Solanki, Director of Cricket, GT.
In both seasons, under Hardik's leadership, Gujarat had topped the points table in the league stage. But it was at Mumbai, where Hardik began his IPL career from in 2015, at for a meager 15,000 dollars.
From an uncapped player, Hardik rose to be Mumbai's vital cog in the wheel as a fast-bowling all-rounder.
“Seeing Hardik back at Mumbai Indians makes me very happy. It is a happy homecoming. He provides great balance to any team he plays. Hardik’s first stint with the MI family was hugely successful, and we hope he achieves even more success in his second stint,” said Akash Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians.
He also earned an India cap across all formats and was a member of their IPL title-winning seasons in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. Hardik was released by Mumbai ahead of IPL 2022 mega auctions, and was taken in by Gujarat for INR 15 crores, where he spent two seasons.
In his stint with Gujarat, Hardik amassed 833 runs in 30 innings, with an average of 41.65 and strike rate of 133.49, hitting six half-centuries. He also took 11 wickets for the franchise at an economy rate of 8.1.
At Mumbai, Hardik will be re-united with Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and other members in IPL 2024, which marks his homecoming to the team where he rose to prominence in the cricketing world.
Hardik now becomes the third IPL captain to be traded after Ravichandran Ashwin moved from Punjab Kings to Delhi Capitals, and Rajasthan Royals traded Ajinkya Rahane also to Delhi in 2020.
“We are thrilled to welcome Hardik back home! It’s a heartwarming reunion with our Mumbai Indians family! From being a young scouted talent of Mumbai Indians to now being a team India star, Hardik has come a long way and we’re excited for what the future holds for him and Mumbai Indians!” said Nita M Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians.
On the other hand, Green, who was bought for a whopping 20 million dollar crores at the IPL auction in December last year, featured in 16 matches for Mumbai. The Australian had an impressive start to the IPL, hitting an unbeaten century and two half-centuries while also taking six wickets as Mumbai’s campaign ended in Qualifier 2 of IPL 2023.
"Arjun today you have taken another important step in your journey as a cricketer," Tendulkar tweeted. "As your father, someone who loves you and is passionate about the game, I know you will continue to give the game the respect it deserves... "
"Cricket is my passion and not a burden," 29-year-old engineer-turned-cricketer said. "So I am enjoying cricket after leaving engineering and a job to follow my passion without having much at home."
Shubman Gill smashed a third masterful IPL century and fast bowler Mohit Sharma took 5-10 for Gujarat to win by 62 runs with 10 balls to spare.
Madhwal then returned figures of 5-5 to dismiss Lucknow for 101 as Mumbai booked a meeting with holders and regular season table-toppers Gujarat in the next play-off encounter on Friday. The winners of that clash will meet Chennai in the final on Sunday.
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