Back to the blues: Hardik Pandya returns to Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2024!

One of India's young cricketers Hardik Pandya is making his way back to home ahead of the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). 30-year-old Pandya is an all-rounder and one of the closely watched players in the league. Known for captaining the Gujarat Titans franchise of the IPL that won title in its maiden season in 2022, Pandya is now in headlines for making a remarkable re-entry to Mumbai Indians (MI), which is one of the successful teams in IPL history. 

On Monday - November 27, the Mumbai Indians, owned by the Mukesh Ambani family, has officially announced that Hardik Pandya is returning to MI ahead of the IPL 2024. The fans of the MI are elated to have the star cricketer back to the blues, the management has also expressed its hope that his return would bear fruit for the team for more success. 

Speaking about Pandya's return, one of MI's owners Nita Ambani said, "We are thrilled to welcome Hardik back home! It's a heartwarming reunion with our Mumbai Indians family! From being a young scouted talent of Mumbai Indians to now being a team India star, Hardik has come a long way and we're excited for what the future holds for him and Mumbai Indians." 

Akash Ambani said, "Seeing Hardik back at Mumbai Indians makes me very happy. It is a happy homecoming. He provides great balance to any team he plays. Hardik's first stint with the MI family was hugely successful, and we hope he achieves even more success in his second stint." Hardik Pandya played for MI from 2015 to 2021. 

After his first round of stint with MI, he was bought by Gujarat Titans in 2022 and subsequently, he was named captain of the team. In a historical breakthrough for his captaincy, Pandya led the Titans to lift the title in their maiden season and etched a milestone in his stupendous journey as an all-rounder. Pandya also led the Gujarat Titans in IPL 2023, where the team lost the finals to the Chennai Super Kings. 

For the upcoming season of the IPL, the franchises had clashed in a retention window where they released some players and retained some. The window was closed on November 26 and amidst speculations about Pandya's reunion with the MI, it has now been officially announced that Pandya will return to the MI ahead of the IPL 2024. Both of the franchises had finalised an all-cash deal trade-off on Sunday. 

Responding about Pandya's exit from the Titans, Vikram Solanki, Director of Cricket for Gujarat Titans said, "As the first captain of Gujarat Titans, Hardik Pandya has helped the franchise deliver two fantastic seasons that resulted in winning one IPL championship and one appearance in the final. He has now expressed a desire to return to his original team Mumbai Indians. We respect his decisions and wish him all the very best in his future endeavours." 

With the view of acquiring Hardik Pandya for Rs 15 crore, the Mumbai Indians had traded its player Cameron Green for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Green, who has a value of Rs 17.5 crore, has become the latest player to get released from MI. In an article on its website, the MI management had officially confirmed the depature of Green and it wrote, "Goodbyes are never easy. But with a heavy heart, we, the MI Paltan, thank Cameron Green for all the wonderful memories he gave us in the Blue and Gold through the 2023 IPL."