Gujarat Titans break silence on Hardik Pandya’s move to Mumbai Indians, explain reason behind IPL trade deal

Gujarat Titans on Monday named Shubman Gill as their captain for the 2024 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) following Hardik Pandya’s decision to move back to Mumbai Indians. Gujarat Titans will receive Rs 15 crore from MI for the trade with all cash except for a large, undisclosed transfer fee, a portion of which will also go to the cricketer. With Pandya’s exit certain, 24-year-old opener Gill was an obvious captaincy choice, having bagged the coveted ‘orange cap’ last season with 890 runs, second only to Virat Kohli’s record of 973. “I am delighted and proud to take over the captaincy of Gujarat Titans and thank the franchise for their trust in me to lead such a great team. We have had two exceptional seasons and I am very much looking forward to leading the team with our exciting brand of cricket,” Gill said in a statement.

Pandya, on his part, took to ‘X’, earlier twitter to express his feelings.

“This brings back so many wonderful memories. Mumbai. Wankhede. Paltan. Feels good to be back,” Pandya commented on ‘X’ in a video chronicling his entire journey for Mumbai Indians.

GT Team Director Vikram Solanki acknowledged Pandya’s contribution to the team’s success in the last two seasons.

“As the first captain of Gujarat Titans, Hardik Pandya has helped the franchise deliver two stellar seasons that resulted in winning an IPL championship and an appearance in the final,” Solanki was quoted as saying in a statement.

“He has now expressed a desire to return to his original team Mumbai Indians. We respect his decision and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” added the former England international.

Solanki, who has worked closely with Gill, vouched for his maturity.

“Shubman Gill has shown growth in stature and stature over the last two years at the highest level of the game. We have seen him mature not only as a batsman but also as a leader in cricket,” opined Solanki.

“His maturity and skill is evident in his performance on the track and we are extremely excited to embark on a new journey with a young leader like Shubman at the helm,” said the head of the GT think tank.

Thrilled to welcome Hardik back, say MI owners

Mumbai Indians owners Nita Ambani and Akash Ambani both termed Pandya’s return as a “happy homecoming”.

“We are thrilled to welcome Hardik home! It’s a heartwarming reunion with our Mumbai Indians family! From being a young talent scouted by Mumbai Indians to now being a Team India star, Hardik has come a long way and we are excited about what the future holds for him and the Mumbai Indians,” Ms Ambani said.

Her son Akash spoke about the poise that the all-rounder lends to any team.

“It’s a happy homecoming. He brings good balance to any team he plays. Hardik’s first stint with the MI family was hugely successful and we hope he achieves even more success in his second stint,” Ambani junior said.

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