If there is any truth to the chatter around Hardik Pandya shifting base to Mumbai Indians from Gujarat Titans, then the five-time IPL champions have ”struck gold”, India off-spinner R Ashwin said.
AdvertisementWith the IPL trading window concluding on Sunday, reports have indicated that Pandya could be returning to MI in an all-cash trade with GT, as the 30-year-old is expected to be worth more than Rs 15 crore.
”If it’s true, Mumbai Indians have struck gold. So, it’s a complete cash deal from whatever I read. There’s no player that Mumbai is giving,” Ashwin said in a video he shared on his Instagram account. ”Mumbai Indians have never given players on trade. I don’t think it has happened ever. But, how does that XI look like if Hardik goes back who’s an MI-grown player? ”There’s three times when a captain has been traded. One, yours truly, No. 2 Ajinkya Rahane and now Hardik Pandya.” Pandya began his Indian Premier League career with MI in 2015 and was a part of the side until 2021. He won four titles with Mumbai Indians.
AdvertisementHe led GT to title success in their debut season and helped them finish as the runner-up in IPL 2023. ”The only difference between us and Hardik is that he’s an IPL-winning captain, which completely changes the balance for even Gujarat Titans,” added Ashwin. ”It will be interesting to see whether another Pandya might.. oh sorry, sorry. But, what Mumbai needs to do now is because Hardik Pandya is a 15-crore player, they have to free up their purse to make sure they come under the auction budget.” Currently, it is also unclear as to whether MI have decided to release their Rs 8 crore buy Jofra Archer, who has been injured for the better part of the last couple of seasons. With the IPL Governing Council increasing the purse by an additional Rs 5 crore, MI will go into the mini-auction with Rs 5.50 crore (up from the existing Rs 50 lakh purse) unless they release some of their big buys to swell the reserve money.