Hardik Pandya likely to be captain of Ahmedabad franchise in IPL

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The Indian cricket board (BCCI) on Monday has given the letter of intent (LOI) to the new IPL franchise from Ahmedabad which was bought by CVC Capital. The Ahmedabad franchise had already started working on formation of its team management while few legal issues were still sorted out with BCCI. It has emerged former India pacer Ashish Nehra is set to be the head coach while star all-rounder Hardik Pandya is tipped to be the captain of the team. If the deal goes through, it will be a major shot in the arm of Hardik who has fallen out of favour for the India selectors.

However, the big catch will be star Afghanistan allrounder Rashid Khan. Rashid has been in talks with both Ahmedabad and Lucknow for weeks. According to sources, the Ahmedabad franchise looks ahead of the race at the moment. Ishan Kishan is the preferred wicketkeeper. The two new franchises will have to give three names (two Indians and one overseas) before the mega auction which is likely to be held in Bengaluru on Feb 11-12. There is a chance that the IPL auctions may be pushed back due to the rising number of Covid cases in the country. KL Rahul is almost certain to take over as the captain of the Lucknow franchise. The Sanjiv Goenka-owned Lucknow team have Australia allrounder Marcus Stoinis and South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada as backups if they fail to get Rashid Khan.

Leg-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Rahul Chahar are also in demand since both the grounds at Ahmedabad and Lucknow have big boundaries which is seen as an advantage for leg-spinners. It will be interesting to see where Shreyas Iyer goes in the auction. The middle-order batter chose to walk out of Delhi Capitals after the captaincy was handed to Rishabh Pant from him. Sources say Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are interested in getting Iyer as a captaincy option.

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