Aakash Chopra has raised doubts about Hardik Pandya’s potential move from the Gujarat Titans (GT) back to the Mumbai Indians (MI) if he isn’t offered the captaincy role. Initially part of MI in his IPL career, Pandya enjoyed success before shifting to GT before the IPL 2022 auction. Recent reports suggest a possible return to his former team ahead of the IPL 2024 auction.
Expressing his thoughts in a YouTube video, Chopra expressed skepticism about the Titans releasing Pandya and questioned whether Pandya would switch to Mumbai Indians if not appointed as their captain. He elaborated (4:55):
“There’s talk of Hardik moving to Mumbai. Rumors are swirling, but there’s been no confirmation. If he leaves, first Gujarat might release him – a team that won once and reached the final once. If he moves, will Mumbai make him captain? Why would he go if he’s not named captain?”
While acknowledging the possibility of the rumors being true, the former Indian opener remained uncertain whether Rohit Sharma would move to the Titans under these circumstances. He mentioned:
“I haven’t grasped the full story yet. So I’m waiting to see what unfolds because it seems like something’s brewing. There’s no smoke without fire, and there’s definitely smoke indicating Hardik’s departure. But will Rohit Sharma go to GT? I’m not sure if that’s possible.”
Chopra doubted the Titans’ decision to appoint an overseas skipper like Rashid Khan or Kane Williamson if Pandya joins MI, pointing out that Shubman Gill might be their only Indian captaincy option in such a scenario. Regarding the Mumbai Indians’ decisions, Chopra speculated that they might contemplate releasing Jofra Archer. He commented (4:35): “I think there might be discussions about Jofra Archer. Mumbai will weigh their options. Should they retain him, especially when (Jasprit) Bumrah will be available this time?”
The cricket analyst highlighted Archer’s pricey acquisition by MI for ₹8 crore in the IPL 2022 auction, despite his unavailability during that season. He emphasized: “There’s ₹8 crore invested there, so is it worth keeping him or not? They could potentially free up funds by releasing Jofra.”
Archer managed only two wickets in five games during IPL 2023 and continues to struggle with elbow issues.