The Ahmedabad franchise in the Indian Premier League wants to rope in Hardik Pandya as captain for their maiden season. It also aims to sign Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, but Lucknow is also chasing the star bowler.
Ahmedabad is also looking at wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan.
Both Hardik and Ishan parted ways with Mumbai Indians last year after not being retained for the auction.
The side has already roped in Ashish Nehra as the head coach and Gary Kirsten as the mentor. Former England cricketer Vikram Solanki will be the director of cricket.
The development comes after the investment firm CVC Capital Partners, which acquired the Ahmedabad franchise, formally received a Letter of Intent from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
After successfully bidding for the Ahmedabad outfit, the CVC got embroiled in a controversy over its links with online betting and gambling companies. The BCCI had to form an independent committee to look into the matter, and after deliberation, it got an all-clear from the panel.
In October 2021, the CVC was the second-highest bidder when the two new teams were auctioned. It won the rights to own the Ahmedabad franchise for Rs 5,625 crores, while Sanjiv Goenka’s RPSG Group bagged the Lucknow franchise for Rs 7,090 crore.
Industry experts who have been following the IPL trends believe that the inclusion of Hardik – who hails from Vadodara – will give the Gujarat-based franchise a new dimension.
The two new teams had to submit their choice of players by December 25. The deadline had to extend due to the delay in issuing a Letter of Intent to the CVC.
The IPL Governing Council is expected to deliberate on the dates and the venue for the auction, when it meets virtually on Tuesday. As per schedule, the auction is to be held in Bengaluru on February 12 and 13, but given the current COVID-19 situation, it needs to be seen if the Governing Council makes any changes.