Hardik Pandya returns back to Mumbai Indians

The star Indian all-rounder was traded back to Mumbai Indians for INR 15 crore and Shubman Gill will replace him as Gujarat Titans captain.

In one of the most shocking transfers in the history of the Indian Premier League, Hardik Pandya has returned to his former franchise Mumbai Indians after spending two years as captain of Gujarat Titans. The five-time IPL winners officially announced the return of the all-rounder on Monday.

Apparently, the deal was confirmed late on Sunday evening and only hours after the deadline for teams to announce the list of players they had released and retained had expired. Even though Sunday was the deadline for franchises to confirm their list of releases and retentions, the trading of players can take place until December 12, just one week before the IPL 2024 auction.

In order to facilitate Pandya’s transfer back to Mumbai Indians, the franchise parted ways with Cameron Green - who was bought for big money at the auction last year - and he has decided to join Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Following the announcement of his transfer, Pandya shared a video on social media and said that the feeling hasn’t sunk in yet. “The feeling of coming back to Mumbai is very special for a lot of reasons. How my cricketing journey started in 2015 with MI, them noticing me in 2013.”

He has spent seven seasons with the five-time IPL winners and helped them win four IPL titles.  “When I look back, the whole span of 10 years has been something very special. It has not sunk in yet that I’m finally back where my whole cricketing journey started. I have achieved all the possible things.

“They have been the most important part of my life. Special bond with Akash and the family, they have been through my thick and thin. It is much more emotional because it feels like I’m coming back to my home, my family where it all started,” Pandya added.

The 30-year-old was purchased by Gujarat Titans as their first ever player ahead of the IPL 2022 auction in their debut season in the Indian Premier League. He led the side for two years and even won the IPL in their first season and led them to the final in 2023 where they fell short to Chennai Super Kings.

The Titans also released an official statement following his departure. “As the first captain of Gujarat Titans, Hardik Pandya has helped the franchise deliver two fantastic seasons that resulted in winning one IPL championship and one appearance in the final. He has now expressed a desire to return to his original team Mumbai Indians. We respect his decision and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours,” said Vikram Solanki, Director of Cricket.

Shubman Gill has been confirmed as the captain of Gujarat Titans a day after Pandya’s departure. "I am delighted and proud to assume the captaincy of Gujarat Titans and thank the franchise for their trust in me to lead such a fine team," Gill said in a statement.

"We have had two exceptional seasons and I keenly look forward to leading the team with our exciting brand of cricket."

The 24-year-old had begun his IPL career with Kolkata Knight Riders before joining Gujarat Titans ahead of IPL 2022. He scored 483 runs in 16 matches in his first season before a record-breaking total of 890 runs in 17 innings in IPL 2023.