In a significant twist ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season, Mumbai Indians (MI) are reportedly in negotiations to bring back the dynamic all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, from Gujarat Titans (GT). Hardik, a key player in Mumbai’s title-winning campaigns, is poised for a sensational return to his former franchise.

Having initially joined MI as an uncapped player for a modest INR 10 lakhs in 2015, Hardik Pandya played an instrumental role in MI’s triumphs in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2020.

The whopping INR 15 Crore trade deal

According to a report from ESPNcricinfo, the proposed trade involves a staggering INR 15 crore, constituting both Hardik’s salary and an undisclosed transfer fee to Titans. The deal also includes a provision where Hardik stands to earn up to 50% of the transfer fee.

As of now, both Mumbai and Titans have maintained silence on the potential trade. If finalized, it could mark the most significant player trade in IPL history. However, the trade faces a financial hurdle, as Mumbai need to secure adequate funds for the transaction.

Also READ: 4 players that LSG might release ahead of IPL 2024 players’ auction

The financial challenge

After the last auction, Mumbai were left with a minimal purse of INR 0.05 crore ($6000 approx.). Although franchises receive an additional INR 5 crore ($600,000 approx.) for the upcoming auction, it might still fall short. The buzz is that Mumbai might release players to facilitate the Hardik trade, with the retention deadline expiring on November 26 at 4 pm IST.

If the trade materialize, Hardik would become the third captain to be traded in IPL history, following Ravichandran Ashwin (from Punjab Kings to Delhi Capitals) and Ajinkya Rahane (from Rajasthan Royals to Capitals) in 2020.

Hardik Pandya’s impressive stint with Titans

Hardik captained Titans to their maiden IPL title in 2022 and led them to the final in 2023, where they narrowly lost to Chennai Super Kings. In his two seasons with Titans, Hardik scored 833 runs in 30 innings, boasting an impressive average of 41.65 and a strike rate of 133.49. He also contributed with the ball, taking 11 wickets with an economy of 8.1.

It’s worth noting that Hardik is currently nursing an ankle injury sustained during India’s ODI World Cup campaign.

Also READ: 4 players that CSK might release ahead of IPL 2024 players’ auction

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