The pendulum of the future of Hardik Pandya in the IPL swung incredibly on Sunday, the deadline day of the announcement for the released and retention lists ahead of the IPL 2024 auction.

The day started with several major outlets reporting – almost confirming – that Hardik Pandya, the Gujarat Titans captain, is set for a move back to Mumbai Indians, his first franchise where he spent 7 seasons from 2015 to 2021.

However, apparently, the deal fell out in the last minutes as Gujarat Titans handed over the list of players retained and released and Hardik Pandya was in the retained section while Mumbai Indians, too, didn’t announce Pandya in their list. The deadline was 5 PM IST.

It felt that the drama was over and Hardik would stay at GT. But, one final twist remained.

At 7.31 PM, Cricbuzz reported that Hardik Pandya has officially been traded to Mumbai Indians in a cash-for-player deal – Pandya’s salary is INR 15 crore. Little after, Sports Tak reported that Mumbai Indians have traded away Cameron Green to RCB; Green’s salary is INR 17.5 crore, which made room for Pandya’s salary and also gave MI some balance to purchase players at the auction.

Cricbuzz said: “Cricbuzz can confirm that the deal has been signed by the franchises involved — Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans – on Sunday (November 26), the final day of the player releases and retentions ahead of the IPL 2024 auction. As reported previously, it is an all-cash deal and therefore no player has moved in the opposite direction.

“According to sources in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and IPL, a formal approval has been given for the trade, which involves only cash transactions although details of the value of the trade is not yet clear. The 30-year-old all-rounder’s league fee for the year is INR 15 crore.

This led to a spate of memes on social media.

Memes on Hardik Pandya as he returned to Mumbai Indians:

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