India and Gujarat Titans (GT) all-rounder Hardik Pandya finally confirmed his move back to his old Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians (MI) on Monday, November 27. Ahead of the players' retention deadline on November 26, there were widespread reports of Pandya’s trade back to MI, however, none of the franchises made the move official and GT even named Hardik in their list of retained players on the deadline.
In order to facilitate the process of onboarding Hardik, MI further traded Cameron Green to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in an all-cash deal of INR 17.5 Crore to increase their purse. Recently, India and Rajasthan Royals (RR) off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin reacted on the exciting turn of events in the last few days and said that MI have struck gold with apparently ‘got an MBA degree and came back home’.
Also Read: RCB did a huge favour to MI, Hardik Pandya deal wouldn’t have happened otherwise: Aakash Chopra
“Green has left Mumbai Indians for RCB. It is a straight swap. Mumbai Indians have cleared their purse. Hardik for Green is a strange swap. They have money for one spinner and one overseas fast bowler and it is pretty much clear for Mumbai. It's done and dusted. They have landed gold. I mean it is not even a like-to-like because MI have got the Indian T20 captain who has won an IPL and came runner-up in 2023. Basically, he went to GT, became a leader, got an MBA degree and came back home,” said Ashwin on his YouTube channel.
Notably, Hardik was bought by Mumbai Indians during the 2015 auction as an uncapped player for INR 10 Lakh. From there on, his life changed drastically as he rose through the ranks in the MI camp and played a pivotal role in their four title victories. The on-field success also materialized into monetary success as his salary also increased by 110 times to be at a whopping 11 crores by the 2018 season.
Hardik Pandya led Gujarat to an IPL title in their debut season
However, the franchise parted ways with Hardik ahead of the 2022 mega auction which led to him being signed by the newly formed Gujarat Titans. Hardik led his home side to an IPL title in their debut season and further led them to another final in 2023 as well.
And now, ahead of the 2024 season, he’s returned to the franchise which built him in his early days where’s being seen as the successor to take Rohit Sharma’s legacy ahead in the coming years.