Ashish Nehra speaks up on Hardik Pandya’s move to Mumbai Indians

Ashish Nehra, the head coach of Gujarat Titans, disclosed that he did not attempt to sway Hardik Pandya’s decision to stay with the Ahmedabad franchise for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

Despite acknowledging the remarkable journey they shared over the last two years, Nehra accepted Pandya’s move back to Mumbai Indians following a significant trade. Reflecting on his impactful tenure with Gujarat Titans, Nehra expressed his sentiments, stating that he could have tried and stopped Pandya from making the move but chose against doing that.

“I never tried to convince Pandya to stay back. As you play more, you gain experience. I could have stopped him had he gone to any other franchise. He (Pandya) played here for two years, but he has gone to a team (MI), where he has played previously for 5–6 years,” Nehra said as quoted by Hindustan Times.

Pandya’s association with Gujarat Titans witnessed both triumph and near-victories. Under his leadership, the team clinched the IPL title in 2022 and secured a runner-up position in 2023. Despite the prospect of securing another title, Pandya’s aspirations were halted by Ravindra Jadeja’s remarkable performance in the final over of the 2024 summit clash.

Nehra acknowledged the challenges posed by Pandya’s departure, especially in light of Mohammed Shami’s absence due to ankle surgery. However, he emphasized the necessity of adapting to such changes, remarking,

“In any sport, you have to move on. You cannot buy experience and to replace someone like Hardik Pandya or (an injured) Mohammed Shami isn’t going to be easy. But that’s a learning curve and that’s how team moves forward,” he said.

We will have trades and transfers like we see in international soccer: Ashish Nehra

Drawing parallels between IPL and football clubs, Nehra speculated on the evolving landscape of cricket with regards to trades and transfers.

“The manner in which the sport (cricket) is moving, we will have trades and transfers like we see in international soccer. It’s a new challenge for him and maybe he will learn something new, and we wish him the best,” Nehra said.

As the anticipation builds for the upcoming IPL season, all eyes are set on the clash between Gujarat Giants and Mumbai Indians at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on March 24, Sunday. Pandya’s return to lead Mumbai Indians against his former team adds an extra layer of excitement to the much-awaited encounter.