Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori reckons Mumbai Indians would have wanted to retain their talisman all-rounder Hardik Pandya but could not retain him because of the money factor.
The five-time champions Mumbai Indians decided to retain their skipper Rohit Sharma, gun fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, star batter Suryakumar Yadav and talismanic all-rounder Kieron Pollard.
MI spent a total of INR 42 crores to retain these four big players and thus could not afford Hardik Pandya, who has been a consistent performer for the franchise over the years.
Hardik has only played for the Mumbai franchise in the IPL. He has amassed 1476 runs for MI in IPL thus far at an average of 27.33 and picked 42 wickets. The right-hander played an instrumental role in providing finishing touches for the team and played some crucial knocks for the five-time champions.
“It’s simply about money, it has to be. There’s no way that Mumbai [Indians] didn’t want Hardik Pandya, every franchise wants him. But they would have only been able to offer him that third spot because and Bumrah and Rohit rightly take up those two slots,” Vettori said on ESPNCricinfo.
“So unfortunately for Mumbai, they are the product of their own success. And this was Venky’s point when we were discussing with him that you develop players and you get them to a point where they are critical to a franchise but then it’s incredibly difficult to hold onto them. I am sure that Hardik Pandya would have been a top priority but they just couldn’t fit him in.”
On the other hand, KL Rahul also decided to go under the hammer and he was released by Punjab Kings ahead of the mega auction. Vettori feels as Rahul and Hardik are very close to each other, there could be a chance that both of them will unite to play for the same franchise.
“He probably feels like he has developed himself and there maybe alliances forming. That may be a factor as well. KL and Hardik are extremely close so there may be an opportunity for them to all join up with luck now. All these things in the background may be happening at the moment and we will only find out in the coming days and weeks if it comes to fruition. I think there are a lot of players trying to play together,” added the former New Zealand spinner.