Zaheer Khan explains why Hardik Pandya was not retained by Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL mega auction

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jan 04, 2022, 07:10 PM(IST)

Hardik Pandya was released by Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2022. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan opened up on Mumbai Indians' decision to not retain ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 season.

Mumbai Indians (MI) had a tough time deciding their final four retentions ahead of the deadline day with a number of superstars in their star-studded squad. The five-time champions let go of the likes of Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Ishan Kishan among others while retaining their captain Rohit Sharma and three others.

Former India pacer Zaheer Khan, who is part of the Mumbai Indians backroom staff, recently revealed why the franchise didn't retain Hardik ahead of the mega auction. Hardik had been a vital cog in the Mumbai Indians set up over the years and played an instrumental role in the team's success in the IPL.

However, he was let go of by the five-time champions, who decided to keep Rohit, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav and Kieron Pollard. Hardik, who has been dealing with constant fitness issues, didn't bowl at all in IPL 2021 and has also been left out of the Indian team after average performances in the T20 World Cup 2021.

However, Zaheer has backed the star all-rounder to make a strong comeback after gaining full fitness while opening up on 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.

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With two new teams - Lucknow and Ahmedabad also in the fray this time around, it remains to be seen if Hardik will head to the auction pool or he will be picked by one of the two new franchises in the players' draft before the auction. Both Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises can pick three players each from the non-retained ones ahead of the mega auction.

Hardik is one of the best all-rounders in the league with 1476 runs and 42 wickets in 96 matches in his IPL career so far.

 

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