Sports news on your fingertips

Zaheer Khan reveals why the Mumbai Indians did not keep Hardik Pandya ahead of the IPL Mega Auction

Hardik Pandya was released by Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2022.

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan,the director of cricket operations for MI, recently told, why their franchise didn’t hold Hardik for the auction.

The five-time champions parted ways with Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, and Ishan Kishan, among others, but skipper Rohit Sharma and three others remained. With a number of superstars in their star-studded squad, the Mumbai Indians (MI) had a difficult time deciding on their final four retentions ahead of the deadline day.

Hardik had been a crucial part in the Mumbai Indians’ setup over the years, contributing significantly to the team’s IPL success.The five-time champions, on the other hand, elected to keep Rohit, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, and Kieron Pollard. Hardik, who has been plagued by physical concerns, did not bowl in the IPL 2021 and was also kicked out of the Indian team following mediocre performances in the T20 World Cup 2021.

Zaheer, on the other hand, has backed the star all-rounder to make a strong comeback after regaining full fitness, while also speaking out about the Mumbai Indians’ decision to release him.

“Absolutely (Hardik can regain his full fitness). Hardik is very keen on that. The retention calls usually take into consideration various aspects and angles. The debates are usually very long (laughs). It is not an easy process when you set yourself up for a big auction and say goodbye to all players with a heavy heart with whom you spent a lot of time and energy,” Zaheer was quoted as saying by TimesofIndia.com.

Hardik has 1476 runs and 42 wickets in 96 IPL matches, making him one of the top all-rounders in the league. With two new teams “Lucknow and Ahmedabad” in the mix this time, it’s unclear whether Hardik will join the auction pool or selected by one of the two new franchises in the players’ draught prior
to the auction.

Both the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises will be able to select three players from the non-retained. list ahead of the mega auction. Zaheer wished Hardik a speedy recovery as he was hopeful that the Surat born cricketer would also return to his lost form once he regained his full health & fitness.