‘IPL is IPL, Right Now I’m Playing India’- Hardik Pandya on Whether Kane Williamson Be Picked in Auction

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New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who was also the Sunrisers Hyderabad captain in IPL 2022, was one of 12 players released by the franchise on Tuesday, ahead of the IPL mini-auction happening next month in Kochi.

Hyderabad had named Williamson as their captain ahead of the IPL 2022 season after a fallout with David Warner in the 2021 season. They also retained him for a whopping sum of INR 14 crore.

IPL Auction: Full List of Players Retained And Released by RCB

But Hyderabad won only six out of 14 matches, despite being on a five-match winning streak in the first half of the IPL 2022 season. Coming after nursing a troublesome elbow injury, Williamson was far from his best with the bat, scoring just 216 runs in 13 innings at a strike rate of 93.50.

Following the announcement of Hyderabad deciding not to retain Williamson, India’s stand-in T20I skipper Hardik Pandya was asked if his side, defending champions Gujarat Titans, were interested in acquiring the right-hander.

Pandya chose not to speak much on the matter. “Don’t know, too far to think right now.” Asked if he thought Williamson would be picked via IPL min-auction, he remarked, “For him, because he is a friend, yes. IPL is IPL, right now I’m playing India.”

IPL 2023: Players Retained And Released by Gujarat Titans

Overall, Williamson played for Hyderabad in eight seasons of the IPL, making 2021 runs at an average of 36.22 and strike rate of 126.03. Under his leadership, Hyderabad’s best result was runners-up finish in IPL 2018, after losing to Chennai Super Kings in the final.

“To the franchise, my teammates, the staff and the always amazing #orangearmy — thank you for making it an enjoyable 8 years. This team and the city of Hyderabad will always be very special to me #orangearmy,” wrote Williamson on his official Instagram handle.

In that season, Williamson was the highest run-getter of the tournament with 735 runs at an average of 52.50 and strike rate of 142.44.

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