After Mumbai Indians excluded Hardik Pandya from the retention list, Daniel Vettori has stated that the Indian all-rounder might play along with KL Rahul for a new team in IPL 2022. Vettori further added that it was difficult for Mumbai Indians to choose Hardik over Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
Mumbai Indians announced their IPL retention list on Tuesday, and the franchise retained Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, and Kieron Pollard ahead of the mega auction. Rohit, who led the Mumbai-based franchise to five IPL titles was retained for a whopping 16 crores. Whereas, the spearhead of the team, Bumrah was paid INR 12 crores. The five-time IPL champions retained Suryakumar for INR 8 crores, and Pollard will draw a salary of INR 6 crores.
However, the Mumbai Indians decided not to retain Hardik Pandya, who has played a pivotal role in the franchise’s triumph in the tournament. The all-rounder has been having a poor run in all formats of the game, and faced wide criticism after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup 2021.
Meanwhile, Daniel Vettori pointed out that Hardik and KL Rahul are extremely close, and the all-rounder might play along with the right-hand batsman for a new team in IPL 2022. Notably, Rahul decided to go into the mega auction despite Punjab Kings wanting him to stay with the 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," Vettori said on ESPNCricinfo.
The former New Zealand spinner also reckoned that it was very difficult for Mumbai Indians to choose Hardik Pandya over Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.
"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," added the former New Zealand spinner.
"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," said Vettori.