With newcomers, Corey Anderson (second from right) and Michael Hussey (third from right) coming in, Mumbai Indians will be hoping to defend the title this season © IANS and Getty Images
Mumbai Indians have new personnel this year, but their main players are back to serve them. Nishad Pai Vaidya analyses the Mumbai team.
Mumbai Indians, the defending champions of the Indian Premier League (IPL) head into a new year with a different setup. There is no Sachin Tendulkar remember! So, it is a new era where new players will have to before the face of the side. Mumbai have a strong group and have the firepower to do well in the new season. Let us have a look at their side and compare it with their previous year’s personnel.
Previous Year’s Squad: Ricky Ponting (c), Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Aditya Tare, Glenn Maxwell, Dwayne Smith, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Dhawan Kulkarni, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Amitoze Singh, Javed Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, Phil Hughes, Sushant Marathe, Jacob Oram, James Franklin, Aiden Blizzard, Yuzvendra Chahal, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Munaf Patel, Akshar Patel, Jalaj Saxena, Suryakumar Yadav.
Previous Year’s Strategy: Initially, Mumbai relied on the old firm, Ricky Ponting and Tendulkar at the top. However, Ponting wasn’t in form and dropped himself to take a more backroom role. Tendulkar regained some touch, but missed the latter half of the tournament due to an injury. However, Mumbai backed the attacking approach upfront as Dwayne Smith filled into the void perfectly. Plus, Kieron Pollard turned out to be the finisher they hoped he would. Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma were the main men in the middle order. To back that up, you had a resurgent Mitchell Johnson with the reliable Lasith Malinga. Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha handled the spinning duties.
This Year’s Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Michael Hussey, Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson, Aditya Tare, CM Gautam, Pragyan Ojha, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Sushant Marathe, Apoorv Wankhede, Shreyas Gopal, Josh Hazlewood, Marchant de Lange, Ben Dunk, Krishmar Santokie, Pawan Suyal.
This Year’s Strategy: Mumbai used their retentions to their fullest extent and managed to hold on to Rohit, Rayudu, Pollard, Harbhajan and Malinga. This has been their core and to go with that, they got back Ojha, Suyal, Tare and Marathe at the auction. However, they have done well to get Michael Hussey as they need that anchor at the top, someone who is reliable and can score at a fair clip. This year too, they will back their star power as they have the big names. There is great emphasis on the all-rounders in the middle and Corey Anderson would want to emulate Pollard’s exploits in the IPL. But, it is also interesting to see the pace battery they have packed. Zaheer comes back after three seasons to partner Malinga. But, they also have Josh Hazlewood and Merchant de Lange as options. So, overall, they have a very good side and the formula is simple — star power.
Surprise Pick: Krishmar Santokie — The West Indian left-armer hasn’t been a part of his international side for some time. He isn’t express, but is very accurate and can trouble batsmen with his lack of pace. It was a surprise though that he got a contract, but who knows, he may resurrect his international career here.
Dark Horse: Josh Hazlewood — The Australian pacer has been earmarked for success at an early age and is thereabouts as far as international cricket is concerned. A good IPL performance would do well to help him revive his international prospects.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)