IPL trade-off: Hardik likely to return to Mumbai, will Gujarat let him go?

Also, can Mumbai produce the huge amount of money required to seal the all-cash deal?

Hardik Pandya missed most of the recent ICC World Cup with an ankle injury (photo: @hardikpandya7/X)
Hardik Pandya missed most of the recent ICC World Cup with an ankle injury (photo: @hardikpandya7/X)


Hardik Pandya is all set to leave Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Gujarat Titans to return to his old home Mumbai Indians, where he started his journey back in 2015, say reports.

As quoted by ESPNcricinfo, the trade will be in an all-cash deal, with Mumbai paying Rs 15 crore ($1.8 million approx.) as Hardik's salary and an undisclosed transfer fee to the Titans. Hardik stands to earn up to 50 per cent of the transfer fee.

However, sources close to the Gujarat Titans management have claimed that the team cannot afford to lose Hardik after two great seasons.

Should the deal go through, it will possibly be the biggest player trade in IPL history, though neither franchise has yet made any public comment on the trade.

Hardik will also become the third captain to be traded after R Ashwin moved from Punjab Kings to Delhi Capitals, and Rajasthan Royals traded Ajinkya Rahane, also to the Capitals, in 2020.

The biggest challenge for Mumbai Indians will be to find the money for the trade. After the last IPL auction, Mumbai had just Rs 0.05 crore ($6,000 approx.) left in its kitty.

Franchises will get an additional Rs 5 crore ($600,000 approx.) in their purse for the forthcoming IPL auctions. This only means Mumbai need to release player(s) to pull off the Hardik trade. The retention deadline expires on 26 November at 4.00 pm IST.

Hardik led the Titans to the title in 2022, their debut season in the IPL, and was player of the match in the final against Rajasthan Royals. In 2023, the Titans made the IPL final for the second time in two seasons, where they ended as runners-up to Chennai Super Kings. In both seasons, under Hardik's leadership, Titans finished top of the points table in the league stage.

In his two-season stint at Titans, Hardik scored 833 runs in 30 innings, with an average of 41.65 and strike rate of 133.49. He took 11 wickets for them with an economy of 8.1. At present, he is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered during India's ODI World Cup campaign.

On the other hand, it was in Mumbai that Hardik began his IPL career, and developed into one of the best allrounders in the game. Bought for Rs 10 lakh as an uncapped player in 2015, Hardik was part of Mumbai's title-winning seasons in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.

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