Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya wants to leave Mumbai Indians and go under the hammer in next year’s IPL auction. Pandya was bought by Mumbai Indians for 10 lakhs in 2015 and retained by Mumbai Indians for 20 lakhs. He was unsold in IPL Auction 2014. With the giant strides he has made in international cricket this year, he will be the most sought-after player in the auction.
“Hardik wants to be at the auction and the rule says that if he isn’t ready to play for Mumbai Indians, he can certainly be at the auction,” a top board official was quoted as saying by The Times of India on Friday.
“Pandya could be the next big thing in the IPL if he is at the auction. After all, the teams will retain big India players like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma” added the report.
The swashbuckling all-rounder made a big impact for Mumbai Indians in 2015 season of IPL. On his debut, he smashed 16 off 6 balls. In a game against Chennai Super Kings, he blasted 21 off 8 balls with 3 consecutive sixes off Pawan Negi. In another do or die encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders, he rescued Mumbai Indians after a collapse with a blistering half-century. This impact in the IPL earned him a national call-up in January 2016.
In 2017 his impact on Indian cricket has been extraordinary. He has scored 531 runs at a strike rate of 120.4 with 30 sixes. Not only that, he has picked up 27 wickets with the ball and is second leading wicket-taker after Bumrah. No wonder he is showing why he can be India’s next Kapil Dev. India is investing heavily in Pandya and is reaping great rewards.
If Pandya happens to be at the auction, he will certainly be a hot pick. If Ben Stokes can fetch 14.5 crores being a foreign player, then it won’t be a surprise if teams spend even higher sum on Hardik Pandya.
– by Atharva Apte