India's T20I captain Hardik Pandya is at the centre of the biggest trading news ahead of this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) auction as the Gujarat Titans skipper could be on his way out and is being linked with a potential return to Mumbai Indians.
With Mumbai Indians refusing to comment on the development, one would need to wait till November 26, the closing day for IPL's trading window.
Pandya had played seven seasons of IPL for Mumbai before being released prior to the 2022 season. After joining Gujarat Titans, Pandya led the side to back-to-back IPL finals, including earning them the trophy in their debut season.
"Yes, I can confirm that there has been talks of Hardik going to MI. There remains a chance that he might switch sides but at this moment, nothing more can be confirmed as of now as the deal is yet to be signed," said an IPL source tracking developments in Gujarat Titans.
Since trading involves swapping of players, it is still not clear that if Pandya returns to MI fold, who could switch over to the Titans.
There is no confirmation yet from MI whether they have decided to release their ₹8 crore mega buy Jofra Archer, who has been injured for the better part of the last two seasons.
With the IPL Governing Council increasing the purse by an additional ₹5 crore, MI go into the mini-auction with ₹5.50 crore (up from the existing ₹50 lakh purse) unless they release some of their big buys to swell the reserve money.
If Pandya finally signs up for MI on dotted lines, the big question remains is whether he is going to play under iconic Rohit Sharma, who has led the side to five trophies and has been in prime form.
These are the questions that remain unanswered for now and the picture will only be clear once BCCI officially announces the final trading list.