After rewriting history with Gujarat Titans (GT) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), all-rounder Hardik Pandya is set to make a blockbuster return to Mumbai Indians (MI). Pandya’s glorious stint as the leader of the GT franchise is reportedly coming to an end before the start of IPL 2024. According to multiple reports, Pandya will part ways with GT for a return to Mumbai, a place where it all began for the white-ball maverick.

Hardik Pandya is set to return to Mumbai Indians in all-cash trade(IPL-BCCI)

India’s captain in the shortest format of the game, Pandya plied his trade with Mumbai Indians for seven IPL seasons. Pandya was released by Mumbai Indians prior to the 2022 season. Leading Gujarat Titans in their debut season, local hero Pandya propelled GT to a memorable title triumph last year. Under his leadership, Gujarat Titans also contested the final of the IPL 2023 against MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

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Five-time winners Mumbai are ready to pay Gujarat Titans 15 crore to acquire the services of their captain Pandya in an all-cash deal. Speaking about the transfer talks between the two teams ahead of the deadline day, former India opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth said that Pandya will be a huge bonus for Mumbai Indians at IPL 2024.

‘Why Gujarat Titans are releasing their captain?’

“Yes, it’s a huge surprise. But then, it’s a fantastic addition for Mumbai Indians. MI only made Mumbai Indians. I can’t forget Hardik hitting those sixes against Chennai Super Kings in 2015. Yes, MI needed an all-rounder. When it comes to trading, you might have a lot of questions. You might ask ‘Why Gujarat Titans are releasing their captain?’. Maybe they are looking at it as a business. Yes, it’s a huge surprise because he was their captain when they won the title and reached the final,” Srikkanth said on YouTube.

Talking about Rohit’s camaraderie with Hardik, the former India batter opined that Mumbai will name Pandya as the next captain of the MI franchise. However, Srikkanth also observed that Rohit will remain an integral part of the Mumbai Indians. The 36-year-old batter has guided MI to five IPL crowns. India captain Rohit has played 243 matches in the world’s richest T20 league.

‘Mumbai Indians will make Hardik Pandya the captain’

“No no (not the end for Rohit). It’s about a smooth transition. It happened between Sachin and Rohit. Now it’s time for Rohit to Hardik. It’s going to be a smooth transition. At the end of the day, Rohit and Hardik share a wonderful relationship. Obviously, they will make Hardik Pandya the captain. Rohit Sharma will be a key figure and ensure a smooth transition. You need a smooth transition to avoid hiccups in the team,” Srikkanth explained.

In order to accommodate Pandya, MI are likely to release Jofra Archer ( 8 crore) and Cameroon Green ( 17.5 crore) from their squad. All IPL teams will receive an additional INR 5 crore for the mini-auction. Mumbai were left with INR 0.05 crore in its purse after the previous auction. “Look at what Dhoni did with India. There was a smooth transition between him and Kohli. It was a fantastic transition. Yes, Dhoni also played under Kohli. It will be like Guru-Shishya. Yes, Hardik will be leading the team, Rohit will be there. It will be a smooth transition like Dhoni and Kohli in the Indian team,” he added.

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