All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been traded to his former franchise Mumbai Indians (MI) from Gujarat Titans with Cameron Green moving from Mumbai to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the IPL said yesterday.
Five-time winners Mumbai got all-rounder Pandya back on his existing player fee of $1.8mn as teams prepare their wish lists and organise their purses for the IPL auction on December 19 in Dubai.
Pandya first joined Mumbai, which is owned by Nita Ambani – wife of India’s richest man, the Reliance Industries billionaire Mukesh Ambani – as an uncapped player in 2015 for $11,000.
“We are thrilled to welcome Hardik back home! It’s a heartwarming reunion with our Mumbai Indians family!,” Nita Ambani said in a statement.
“From being a young scouted talent of Mumbai Indians to now being a Team India star, Hardik has come a long way and we’re excited for what the future holds for him and Mumbai Indians.”
An attacking batsman and fast bowler, Pandya led Gujarat to the IPL title in their debut season in 2022 and remained captain in their runners-up finish this year.
He led from the front with 833 runs in 30 innings and a strike rate of 133.49. Pandya took 11 wickets.
Mumbai let go of Australian all-rounder Green, who was the second most expensive buy in the auction for the 2023 season at $2.11mn. Green had an impressive start to the IPL, hitting an unbeaten century and two half-centuries. He took six wickets with his pace bowling.
Green, 24, joins Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis at Bangalore, who are still hunting a maiden IPL title.
Meanwhile Gujarat Titans said opener Shubman Gill would captain the side in next year’s IPL.
Pandya’s departure sees his India team mate Gill take the captain’s arm-band at Gujarat and Vikram Solanki, the Titans director of cricket, said: “Shubman Gill has shown growth in stature and standing over the last two years at the highest level of the game. We’ve seen him mature not only as a batter but also as a leader in cricket. His contribution on the field has helped Gujarat Titans emerge as a formidable force, guiding the team through a successful campaign in 2022 and a strong run in 2023.
“His maturity and skill is evident in his on-field performance and we are extremely excited to embark on a new journey with a young leader like Shubman at the helm.” Gill is currently fifth on the list of top run-scorers in the IPL in the last six years behind K L Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Faf du Plessis.
He will lead a strong Titans line-up which includes several experienced players like Kane Williamson, Rashid Khan, David Miller, Matthew Wade and Wriddhiman Saha. He also has some captaincy experience, having previously led Indian domestic sides in the Duleep Trophy and Deodhar Trophy.
Green could be an explosive package for Royal Challengers Bangalore, especially at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, according to their director of cricket Mo Bobat.
“He’s the ideal fit for us in that middle-order power role,” Bobat said on RCB Bold Diaries.
“He’s a high-quality, skillful and powerful batsman. He’s got the game against both pace and spin. He’s got international experience across formats and I’m sure he will enjoy batting at the Chinnaswamy. So, seeing him do that will be really exciting. He’s also a fantastic bowler and he bowls with pace and bounce, which were certainly attributes we were looking for particularly in our home conditions. Let’s not forget what an exceptional fielder he is. Some of the catches he has taken in recent times fielding at gully is seriously impressive.”
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