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‘My cricketing birth happened in Mumbai’: Hardik Pandya turns up heat on IPL homecoming as MI meet GT

Hardik Pandya issued a noteworthy remark after the former GT skipper returned to Gujarat as the captain of the Mumbai Indians franchise.

Kickstarting his Mumbai Indians (MI) captaincy stint on Sunday, all-rounder Hardik Pandya marshalled his troops in match No.5 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 against his former side Gujarat Titans (GT) at the Narendra Modi Stadium. Pandya completed a sensational switch from Gujarat Titans to Mumbai in the lead-up to the IPL 2024 auction. The white-ball maverick is making his comeback from a ‘freak’ ankle injury in the 2024 edition of the IPL.

Mumbai Indians captain Hardik Pandya and Gujarat Titans’ captain Shubman Gill during the toss (PTI)

Local hero Pandya guided debutants Gujarat Titans to their first-ever IPL title triumph in the 2022 season. With Hardik at the helm, Gujarat contested back-to-back IPL finals in 2022 and 2023. Returning to MI for IPL 2023 after an all-cash deal, Hardik replaced Rohit Sharma as the captain of the Mumbai Indians. Winning the toss and opting to bowl first, Mumbai skipper Pandya issued a noteworthy statement following his IPL homecoming.

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ALSO READ: GT vs MI IPL Live Score 2024: Hardik Pandya leaking runs as Gill, Saha get Gujarat off to good start

‘My cricketing birth happened in Mumbai’

“Feels good to be back. My birthplace is Gujarat, a lot of success came in Gujarat, very grateful to the crowd and this state. My cricketing birth happened in Mumbai, so really good to be back. It’s been almost two weeks, we started the camp. Boys are very eager to go out there and perform,” Pandya told former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri at the toss.

Hardik opens MI’s bowling attack against GT at IPL 2024

After Hardik returned to MI, GT promoted Shubman Gill to the position of franchise leader. In the build-up to MI’s blockbuster clash with GT, Pandya declared himself fit to bowl at the IPL 2024. The MI skipper opened the bowling attack of the five-time champions against Gujarat at the world’s largest cricket stadium.

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The former GT skipper leaked 20 runs in his first two overs against the hosts. “We had wonderful practice matches and practice nets. All are looking good. The excitement is a different feeling. We have four quicks, three spinners and seven batters. Making sure all the departments are looked after,” Pandya added.

MI vs GT: A quick look at playing XIs

Gujarat Titans: Shubman Gill(c), Wriddhiman Saha(w), Sai Sudharsan, Vijay Shankar, David Miller, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Spencer Johnson.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan(w), Tilak Varma, Naman Dhir, Hardik Pandya(c), Tim David, Shams Mulani, Piyush Chawla, Gerald Coetzee, Jasprit Bumrah, Luke Wood.


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