The Statesman had earlier reported on Saturday that Pandya’s return to the Mumbai Indians fold was on the cards and deal could be an all-cash one, which means that the Mumbai franchise will not swap any of their players with the Titans.
After being retained by the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), India Test and ODI skipper Virat Kohli said that his heart and soul is with RCB and he did not have second thoughts about staying with the team for the next three editions of the tournament.
Kohli shared an emotional message on the official YouTube channel of RCB, saying his best with RCB is yet to come.
“I will be there with my heart and soul for RCB. The journey continues. When I was contacted, (I) did not have any second thoughts at all. It has been an amazing journey over the years, three more years with the franchise that means so much to me,” said Kohli in a video posted on the official YouTube channel of RCB.
“I believe the best is yet to come and I have a special feeling about what is to come next season onwards,” he added.
RCB revealed their retained players ahead of the mega auction and they were Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Siraj. Kohli, who has been with the team since its inception, was retained for Rs 15 crore. Maxwell, who was signed by the team last season, remains with the side with a tag of Rs 11 crores. Siraj, who has been with the team since 2018, will carry on with RCB for a sum of Rs 7 crore.
“Our fan base is amazing, management has been amazing with me and all other players. Fans can see with renewed energy and a different version of me on the field. But I will be there with my heart and soul for RCB,” he added.
Speaking about the retained players, Mike Hesson, Director of Cricket Operations, RCB, said, “The player retention process has been pretty robust and exhaustive. We’ve got an exceptional bunch of players but the key for us was to ensure we have a sizeable auction purse going into the IPL Mega Auction. We had many good players whom we considered and were happy to retain, but that would have taken away our flexibility from the auction to get a balanced squad.
“We look to retain as many players during the auction as we build the perfect squad for 2022 and beyond,” he added.
Kohli has relinquished his T20 captaincy after the T20 World Cup. However, eyebrows were raised when he announced on social media that he would relinquish the captaincy. With a lot of theories floating around about the reason for such a decision, Kohli had said that he was not ready to add fuel to the fire.
“I have already explained myself a lot and I don’t think I need to harp on that anymore,” Kohli had said when asked the reason to announce it before the T20 World Cup.