IPL 2022 will be a 10-team affair with two new teams coming into the fold. Ahmedabad and Lucknow are the cities likely to be awarded with two new IPL teams. Meanwhile, Mumbai Indians will have a tough time retaining the core ahead of next season. Hardik Pandya, who haas been a part of that core group is likely to be released ahead of next season. This also means that he will enter into the mega auctions with teams going big on him to rope him in.
Pandya has not had the greatest of IPL seasons in 2021. He has managed to score only 127 runs with the bat in 12 matches at a dismal average of 14.11. He has not bowled in the entire season owing to his back injury.
Despite his injury issues, he was roped added into the 15-member Indian squad for the T20 World Cup 2021. However, there are still question marks over his participation in the tournament due to his fitness issues.
On that note, we take a look at three franchises that can target Hardik Pandya in IPL 2022 Mega Auction.
3 Teams Who Can Target Hardik Pandya
1) Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan looked short of power-hitters in the death overs. The likes of Chris Morris and David Miller were not in the best of form and had an up and down season. With the side likely to overhaul their squad, they can look to go big for Hardik Pandya.
With time left still for the next IPL, Hardik will get more time to work on his fitness and become fully fit ahead of the next season. He is deadly with the bat in the death overs and can chip in with crucial wickets with the ball. Pandya can be the ideal all-rounder Rajasthan Royals have been looking for since a long time.
Punjab have depended heavily on their top-order since the last few years. They did not have the personnel to score runs in the middle order and that is where Hardik can come in and contribute. The side is built around Indian players and the Indian all-rounder can make his presence felt as this team too is looking for an overhaul with reports of KL Rahul likely to leave the franchise.
Punjab Kings won 6 matches out of 14 in IPL 2021 and thus finished at sixth position on the points table.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The side made the finals after beating Delhi Capitals in the playoffs. Kolkata too are expected to make some big changes and that is where they have an opportunity to sign Pandya. KKR did not have an Indian all-rounder in their ranks over the years and Pandya can certainly be an answer.
It will be interesting to see KKR’s tactics at the auction table and the kind of players they buy. Hardik’s fitness will also play a huge role in motivating franchises to buy him at the mega auction.