Defending champions Mumbai Indians need its famed core players to go big in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 season. The three-time champions have gone for a squad that are heavy on uncapped players and the batting department looks a bit scratchy alongside the spin options too.
The Nita Ambani-owned side have kept just six of the 18 players who turned out in their colours in 2017. Besides retaining skipper Rohit Sharma, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and pacemen Jasprit Bumrah, they used the Right To Match card to keep all-rounders Kieron Pollard of the West Indies and Krunal Pandya in their ranks.
The franchise stuck to their history of sticking to the core and unfortunately they lost out on some key players. Last year’s consistent performers Nitish Rana, Parthiv Patel and Mitchell McCleneghan did not find a place and veteran spin legend Harbhajan Singh too was let go off.
At the Bengaluru auction, they bolstered their bowling by getting Australian pacer Pat Cummins alongside Bangladeshi star Mustafizur Rahman. Even Lewis and JP Duminy are some notable names in the batting department.
MI have thrived on getting many domestic players that give them a new look. Former Indian U-19 skipper Ishan Kishan leads the line alongside uryakumar Yadav, Siddhesh Lad, and Sharad Lumba. Coach Mahela Jayawardene gave an insight as to how the squad will come together and start preparing for the coveted tournament starting in April.
What makes MI a family? ?
The bonding between our players. ?
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) January 30, 2018
Here is the analysis of the MI team under the stewardship of Rohit Sharma.
Batsmen: Rohit Sharma is the fulcrum of this unit and needs to take over from game one to lay the platform for his side. With the experience under his belt and the success that has come with it, Rohit knows he has to get the best out of his side once again and this time even more. He can take the game away from the opposition on any given day, and his presence is the biggest strength.
West Indian Evin Lewis exploits is well known in the shorter formats of the game and Rs 3.80 crore is a good deal for the Trinidad & Tobago player. Lewis will provide the opening support to Rohit upfront and will need to be consistent in terms of scoring runs aplenty.
If Rohit decides to come out as a middle order batsman, than Ishan Kishan could open the innings with Lewis. Kishan needs to do well and it seems the Mumbai management have put in a lot of faith in the youngster. His first class record is quite impressive.
The middle order consists of the likes of former Kolkata Knight Riders player Surya Kumar Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary and South African specialist JP Duminy. A lot will depend on Duminy, who looks like an obvious choice given his batting heroics and some spin bowling too.
Siddhesh Lad, Sharad Lumba besides wicketkeepers, Aditya Tare and Ishan Kishan provide the support in the bench. Lad played some good knocks in the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament and could provide a tough fight to Tiwary in the side.
A look at Rohit and Duminy’s IPL record.
Rohit: Matches 159, Runs 4207, Best 109, Average 32.61, S/R 130.9
Duminy: Matches 77, Runs 1993, Best 78, Average 39.86, S/R 124.87
The team have quite an interesting bunch of all-rounders. The main core of MI are the all-rounders in Pollard and the Pandya brothers. These three gives the side a good look when it comes to being the finishers of the team besides chipping in with the ball.
Pollard, who has played for the Mumbai Indians since his IPL debut in 2010, is a vital cog of the side and will have a lot of significance and input as a senior member.
Pollard: Matches 123, Runs 2343, Best 78, Average 28.93, S/R 146.53, Wickets 56, Best 4/44
Besides Pollard, Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal will bear a lot of importance in providing the side with a lot of character. Krunal will prove handy with his spin bowling once again.
Ben Cutting is another all-rounder in the team and it is unlikely that the player will get many games especially with Pollard in the thick of things. The 31-year-old Australian was seen recently playing in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Brisbane Heat.
Bowlers: MI have gone in with one of the best looking pace bowling unit. Jasprit Bumrah will be the leader of the pack and is growing as one of the best with each day in international cricket. His presence will be highly supported by Australia’s Cummins, who had an excellent Ashes campaign besides doing well in the ODIs too.
Bumrah: Matches 47, Wickets 46, Best 3/7, Economy: 8.10
Mustafizur is another class name in the pace attack and was exceptional for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in their title winning campaign in 2016 with 17 wickets. The left-arm pacer is an excellent choice with his versatility and ability to bowl quick. Besides Mustafizur they have opted for another left-arm pacer in Australian Jason Behrendorff. The 27-year-old will also be joined by Pradeep Sangwan.
The spin department lacks the punch for Mumbai. They do not have any big names in this section. Sri Lanka’s Akila Dhananjaya, who had impressed against India last year, is likely to head the spin department along side Krunal. Youngster Rahul Chahar is also part of the squad.
Weaknesses: Batting is a concern for MI. They are thin in this department and are overly dependent on Rohit as their main man and Duminy too. They have gone heavy on pace attack and could have put more emphasis on the batting. Their spin attack is also very weak. Therefore a lot of work will need to be done by the pacers and all-rounders to get them home.
WATCH: Mumbai Indians’ 25-member squad
Presenting to you, the 25-member strong Mumbai Indians squad!
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) January 29, 2018