Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan, and Shubman Gill are set to be a part of the Ahmedabad franchise for the upcoming IPL 2022 season.
The Ahmedabad franchise, which was bought last October by CVC Capital Partners (Irelia Company Pte Ltd), has also finalized its coaching staff – they will be led by former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra, and former South Africa batter and head coach Gary Kirsten.
Former England batter Vikram Solanki, who is currently Surrey’s head coach, will be the team director. This is the second IPL franchise where the trio will work together: the previous instance was at Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Ahmedabad and Lucknow, the two new franchises participating in the IPL 2022, are yet to disclose the players they have bought but the deadline for doing so is fast approaching- January 22. Both teams were given the same purse – INR 90 crore – the same as the existing eight franchises.
However, unlike the other teams, which could retain four players, the two new ones can buy a maximum of three players with the overseas slot limited to one. It has been learned that Ahmedabad has decided to pay both Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan the same amount – INR 15 crore.
It is also learned that Hardik Pandya is likely to take charge as Ahmedabad captain, a first experience for the allrounder in the IPL. The third player – Shubman Gill – will be paid INR 7 crore. This means the franchise will go into the auction in February with a purse of INR 53 crore.
Hardik Pandya’s rise, since he was bought as an uncapped player for a mere INR 10 lakh in 2015, has been exponential. By 2018, he had established himself as the best allrounder in India and Mumbai duly retained him as their second pick at the auction that year, paying INR 11 crore.
This is the first time Hardik Pandya and Rashid Khan will play for the same team in the IPL, having previously represented Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Hardik Pandya is a four-time title-winner. However, Hardik Pandya struggled with fitness issues over the last two IPLs and did not bowl at all in this period. His batting, too, hasn’t been as effective as before.
That forced Mumbai to look in a different direction as they retained the in-form Suryakumar Yadav, who has proven he can bat and accelerate at any position. Hardik Pandya is currently focussing on regaining complete fitness and has not been part of any of the Indian white-ball squads since the 2021 T20I World Cup.
As for Rashid Khan, the Afghanistan legspinner became a big talking point immediately after Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to retain Kane Williamson, who will be full-time captain from IPL 2022, along with the uncapped Jammu & Kashmir pairing of Abdul Samad and Umran Malik.
In 2017, Sunrisers Hyderabad bought Rashid Khan for INR 4 crore and, a year later, they retained him for INR 9 crore. Remarkably, Rashid Khan featured in all 76 matches played by Sunrisers Hyderabad since his debut, picking up 93 wickets at an economy rate of 6.33. Only Jasprit Bumrah has taken more wickets (104) than Rashid Khan in the last five IPL seasons.
Sunrisers Hyderabad wanted to keep Rashid Khan, so they told him that he would be their second pick behind Kane Williamson. The talks got derailed thereafter, which freed Rashid Khan to weigh up his options, including going into the IPL 2022 mega auction.
For Shubman Gill, this will be his second team in the IPL having been picked by Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2018 auction for INR 1.8 crore. The 22-year old, who has already played 10 Tests and three ODIs, has been earmarked as one of the brightest young talents of this decade, and at one point was even looked upon as a future leader by the Kolkata Knight Riders.
However, the Kolkata Knight Riders had several other options when it came to the retention and Shubman Gill had to be left out. Shubman Gill was a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and he was let go by the franchise as the franchise retained Varun Chakravarthy, Venkatesh Iyer, Sunil Narine, and Andre Russell instead.
Ahmedabad’s third choice Ishan Kishan didn’t work out and they zeroed in on Shubman Gill, who could also be seen as a potential captaincy candidate.