Nicholls stay with the squad for the second Test against Australia, starting from March 8 in Christchurch, it said.
In what could be termed as the biggest transfer of Indian Premier League history, Hardik Pandya returned to the Mumbai Indians franchise after the five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions completed the trade in an all-cash deal with Gujarat Titans, who had originally retained the star all-rounder in its roster by the 5pm deadline on November 26.
The Statesman had earlier reported on Saturday that Pandya’s return to the Mumbai Indians fold was on the cards and the deal could be an all-cash one, which means that the Mumbai franchise will not swap any of their players with the Titans.
The deal was confirmed late on Sunday after the deadline for teams to announce the list of players they had released and retained had expired. While Sunday was the deadline for franchises to confirm the list of players released from the roster and those retained, trading between teams could take place as late as December 12, a week before the official auction date.
According to the IPL rules, the player trading window starts a month after a season ends, stays open up to a week before the auction date, and then continues up until a month before the start of the next season. So the current trading window is open until December 12, with the auction scheduled for December 19, and it will open again on December 20 up to a month before the 2024 IPL season begins.
On Monday, the Mumbai Indians officially confirmed the “homecoming” of Pandya, who began his career as an uncapped player in the side in 2015 and went on to be a part of the team’s four title winning campaigns in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020.
“We are thrilled to welcome Hardik back home! It’s a heartwarming reunion with our Mumbai Indians family! From being a young scouted talent of Mumbai Indians to now being a Team India star, Hardik has come a long way and we’re excited for what the future holds for him and Mumbai Indians,” Nita Ambani, owner of the franchise said in a statement.
Welcoming the Baroda all-rounder back into the side, team owner Akash Ambani said, “Seeing Hardik back at Mumbai Indians makes me very happy. It is a happy homecoming. He provides great balance to any team he plays. Hardik’s first stint with the MI family was hugely successful, and we hope he achieves even more success in his second stint.”
Hardik, who is currently nursing an ankle injury that he sustained during the World Cup, had a successful stint with the Titans, leading them to the title in their inaugural season in 2022 and then taking them to the final in the 2023 edition. In his two-season stint at the Gujarat franchise, Hardik scored 833 runs in 30 innings. He took 11 wickets for them.
With the move, Hardik also became the third captain after Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane to switch sides.
Hardik’s transfer also left the Titans’ purse increased by Rs 15 crore, while they will also receive from Mumbai an additional transfer fee which they will need to disclose to IPL. Hardik stands to earn up to 50 per cent of that transfer fee from Titans based on the mutual agreement.
To facilitate the transfer of Hardik, the Mumbai Indians franchise had also traded out Australian all-rounder Cameron Green to the Royal Challengers Bangalore, besides releasing 11 players, including big names like Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan before Sunday’s deadline. Mumbai Indians had earlier acquired West Indian Romario Shepherd via trade. The release of the 11 players left Mumbai with Rs 15.25 crore in their auction purse, while the trading of Green fetched them an additional Rs 17.50 crore in another all-cash deal.