The IPL was expected to be a 10-team scenario after RP-SG acquired Pune and CVC acquired the Ahmedabad franchise, with several clubs looking to the future for a significant auction to rebuild their core this year. The event will take place in December. However, MI, one of the strongest IPL teams in the last 14 seasons, has a similar core, though the flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has recently become a more specialist batter, could be missing.

“I believe BCCI has a three-player retention mechanism with one Right to Match card,” a source stated. There could be four retentions if RTM isn’t used. Rohit Sharma is the father of Indian speed. Jasprit Bumrsh was chosen at random.”

“The third retention will be Keiron Pollard. Continuity is MI’s strength since these three are MI’s cornerstones,” a top IPL executive watching the franchise’s retention market told PTI. At this moment, Hardik’s chances of being held in MI are fewer than 10%. Yes, he could outperform everyone in the next few T20 World Cup games, but it’s still a long shot. Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan are options for that place if you have four holds or 1 RTM,”said an IPL official.

MI is hesitant to hold Hardik because he is now just a cricket player and is no longer the feared all-rounder he was two years ago. His back will very certainly prevent him from returning to his former role as an active medium-speed bowler. He is unable to pitch consistently at speeds above 130 km/h, and the senior IPL team does not rely solely on his batting abilities. MI may choose Hardik from the auction, even if the amount is less than the budget set aside for him.

“Of course, market dynamics exist, and if necessary, MI selects him from the auction if he fits within a given budget. Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, and Suryakumar Yadav are the first five MI players in order of priority”, according to an IPL insider.