The five-time champions, Mumbai Indians, had one of the strongest core teams in the Indian Premier League, having a lot of superstar players in their squad. Due to this, Mumbai Indians had a tough time deciding their final four retentions ahead of the deadline day. The five-time champions had to let go of the likes of Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, and Krunal Pandya, among others while retaining their skipper Rohit Sharma and three others.
Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan, who has been an integral part of Mumbai Indians’ backroom staff, recently revealed why the franchise didn’t retain Hardik Pandya ahead of the mega-auction, which is just around the corner.
Hardik Pandya has played an instrumental role in Mumbai Indian’s success in the Indian Premier League. Over the years, he has become a vital cog of the Mumbai Indians set up. However, he wasn’t retained by the franchise, as they decided to go with Rohit, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, and Kieron Pollard.
Hardik Pandya has been going through a rough phase in his career as he has been dealing with constant fitness issues. Pandya didn’t bowl at all in IPL 2021 and was struggling to score runs. While there are many who feels that Pandya’s career is now over, but Zaheer Khan has backed the star all-rounder to make a strong comeback after gaining full fitness.
Zaheer also opened up about Mumbai Indians decision to not retain him ahead of the mega-auctions. He said:
“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,”