Superstar India all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, has been appointed as the captain of the Ahmedabad franchise, which will make its IPL debut in the upcoming season.
Pandya, who missed the South Africa tour, was released from Mumbai Indians, whom he has played for since his debut in 2015 and where he attained his success leading to the national side. However, a drastic dip in form coupled with injury issues saw him being released by the franchise as they preferred to retain Suryakumar Yadav over the all-rounder.
Now, Pandya has found a new home; it’s actually his original home as he was born in Gujarat. Not only that, the all-rounder has been made the first captain of the Ahmedabad side, propelling his career further.
On Saturday morning, Hardik Pandya took to his social media to share his first message to Ahmedabad fans. The 28-year-old said he is excited for his new turn in his career and thanked the owners and management to trust him with the leadership duties. Pandya assured the fans that the side will always give their best and fight till the end.
“Hello Ahmedabad. Super excited to start this new journey in the new IPL team- Ahmedabad. Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the owners, the management for putting their faith in me as a captain of this team. It’s a new era for us and I am excited [for] what lies ahead. What I can promise you is this team will always fight and give their all,” Hardik Pandya said in a video he uploaded.
Other than captain Hardik Pandya (15 crore), Ahmedabad have decided to pick Rashid Khan (for also 15 crore), who is arguably the best T20 spinner in the world, and young opener Shubman Gill (for 7 crore). This means the franchise will go into the auction in February with a purse of INR 53 crore.
Pandya welcomed both Rashid and Gill to the team in his video.
“A big welcome to Rashid and Shubman as well. Two players whom I know extremely well and will bring a lot to our table. See you soon. Maliye jaldi,” Pandya concluded.
Kem cho Ahmedabad ?? pic.twitter.com/ZsuaX6PADY
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) January 22, 2022
Ahmedabad have also roped in the former India pacer Ashish Nehra as the head coach and former South Africa batter Gary Kirsten as mentor-cum-batting coach. Former England batter Vikram Solanki, who is currently Surrey’s head coach, will be the ‘Director of Cricket’.
“He’s a young, new captain and he’ll be motivated to come in, make a play and show what he’s capable of at this level as a leader,” Kirsten told Star Sports.
The other new franchise, Lucknow, have also announced their top three picks: KL Rahul (17 crore), Marcus Stoinis (9. crore), Ravi Bishnoi (4 crore).