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‘I could have stopped Hardik had he…’: Ashish Nehra’s sharp IPL warning after Pandya’s ‘football-style’ MI transfer

GT head coach Ashish Nehra opened up on Hardik Pandya’s decision as he warned IPL franchises of more such transfers in the near future.

It has been over three months since Hardik Pandya made that shock transfer back to his old franchise Mumbai Indians after his successful stint with Gujarat Titans before the five-time winners named him as the new captain replacing Rohit Sharma. Yet, it remains a hot topic of discussion in the lead-up to the 2024 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). On Saturday, a week before the start of the season, GT head coach Ashish Nehra opened up on Hardik’s decision as he warned IPL franchises of more such transfers in the near future.

Hardik Pandya left Gujarat Titans to join Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2024 (IPL)

Hardik was released by Mumbai ahead of the 2022 season when Gujarat pounced on the opportunity to rope in the India star and named him the captain. The all-rounder became an instant sensation in his new role as he led Gujarat to title glory in their maiden IPL season that year before they finished as runners-up in 2023.

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However, ahead of the IPL auction last December, Hardik officially announced his move to Mumbai Indians, who later named him their captain. Speaking ahead of the start of the 2024 season, Nehra made an honest admission saying that he did not stop Hardik from taking the decision, knowing that he was going back to MI, although he added that he would have definitely convinced him to stay back had it been any other franchise.

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“I never tried to convince Pandya to stay back. As you play more, you gain experience. I could have stopped him had he gone to any other franchise. He (Pandya) played here for two years but he has gone to a team (MI), where he has played previously for 5-6 years,” Nehra said.

Nehra, however, warned other IPL franchises that such transfers, usually seen in European club football, will be seen more often in the future given the direction in which the sport is heading.

“The manner in which the sport (cricket) is moving, we will have trades and transfers like we see in international soccer. It’s a new challenge for him and may be he will learn something new and we wish him the best,” he said.

Despite Nehra’s revelation, the discussion around Hardik’s move and more so on Mumbai’s call to remove Rohit will remain, probably until the start of the IPL 2024 season where MI will face GT in their opener on March 24 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.


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