IPL’s newest franchise Ahmedabad is eyeing allrounder Hardik Pandya for the role of captaincy, according to a report. Pandya was released by his long-time franchise Mumbai Indians last year despite having been an integral part of their set up since his debut in 2015.
Mumbai Indians, the five-time IPL winners, chose to retain captain Rohit Sharma, batter Suryakumar Yadav, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and allrounder Kieron Pollard while releasing the rest of the squad.
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Pandya represented the franchise in 92 matches and scored 1476 runs at 27.33, and took 42 wickets as well. He was primarily employed in the role of a finisher, often batting low down the order.
Investment firm CVC Capital won the bid for IPL’s Ahmedabad franchise while RPGS group will own the Lucknow-based team. The BCCI has reportedly given the two teams a deadline that runs until the end of January to sign three players of their choice before the mega auction, set to be held in February.
As per a report in India Today, apart from Pandya, the Ahmedabad franchise is also hoping to bring in legspinner Rashid Khan and wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan into their fold.
Rashid was released by his franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad who chose to retain Kane Williamson, Umran Malik and Abdul Samad. Kishan was released by Mumbai Indians.
Pandya’s stocks have taken a hit since a major back surgery following which he has been unable to bowl at full-pelt. Consequently, he lost his place in India’s Test team as well.
He last played for India at the 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE where the team failed to progress beyond the group stage. He wasn’t picked for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand at home that followed the marquee event and there were conflicting reports behind the decision.
Initially it was reported that his fitness was the main reason for him not making it to the squad but later TOI reported that the selectors didn’t see any merit in Pandya being played purely as a batter.