Mumbai Indians have won IPL titles in 2012 and 2015 © IANS
Mumbai Indians have won IPL titles in 2012 and 2015 © IANS

The IPL 2017 schedule is announced and the stage is set for the first game to be held at Hyderabad. Now it is time for the players to make their way into the different franchises during IPL 2017 auction on February 20. Two-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians (MI) might not have had the best of the season in 2016 as they finished fifth, but they retained as many as 20 players from their squad ahead of IPL 2017 on December 19. That leaves them with just seven spots available in their squad. They can purchase seven players with INR 11.55 crore in their kitty. Amongst the list of released players ahead of IPL 2017 auction, Corey Anderson and Martin Guptill have been notable exclusions.

Rohit Sharma has always opened the innings although his partners have changed over the years. With the inclusion of five Afghanistan players in the final auction list and England’s opening batsman Jason Roy also in contention, MI have the opportunity to strengthen their batting-unit. From the retention and released lists, MI left out 8, which includes 4 overseas players. Apart from Guptill and Anderson, India’s Under-19 World Cup-winner  Unmukt Chand, who has been decent with his performance in Ranji Trophy 2016-17, has also been released.

But players like Akshay Wakhare, Marchant de Lange, Nathu Singh, Jerome Taylor and Kishore Pramod Kamath, who have not played a single game for Mumbai Indians, have also been released.

MI minus Corey Anderson and Martin Guptill

Anderson was Mumbai Indians’ second-costliest buy at INR 4.5 crores in the 2014 IPL Player Auction. The hard-hitting all-rounder proved that every penny spent on him was worth it all. Chasing total of 189 set by Rajasthan Royals (RR) to qualify for the IPL 2014 playoffs, Mumbai Indians had task on hand. Amidst opening batsmen, who can also produce runs on a consistent basis like Michael Hussey and Lendl Simmons, there was an all-rounder who stole the show in Anderson.

He can be handy with the ball, but his main strength has always been his batting. He scored a quick-fire unbeaten 95 that included 9 fours and 6 sixes. Hussey and Ambati Rayudu were the only batsmen with highest scores after Anderson to help India win 5 wickets.

Somewhere Mumbai Indians are to be blamed for not playing Anderson in a single game in IPL 2016, knowing the batting prowess he possesses. Sending Hardik Pandya at No. 3 showed the over-reliance on a batsman, who has shown some magical innings at No. 7. As a bowler, Anderson managed tobag total of 4 wickets in IPL 9, that is decent as perAnderson’s international figures of 14 wickets from 25 matches in T20Is. In 2015, he hit two centuries in first four matches of IPL 8. However, a thumb injury ruled him for the rest of the tournament.

With no game in 2016, releasing a powerful striking player could affect unpredictable batting line-up of Mumbai Indians. One can also not forget, it was Anderson who was the driving force to take Mumbai Indian’s to 2014 playoffs.

Then there is Martin Guptill. He got to play just three games, although he was called as replacement for injured Lendl Simmons. But his patient knock of 48 against an upbeat Delhi Daredevils (DD) he was one of the potential batsman who could possibly remove the pressure off Rohit in the near future as an opener. Guptill had an interesting beginning to IPL. He was ignored at the Players’ Auction despite being an explosive batsman during New Zealand’s home summer. With Simmons’ injury, Mumbai Indians looked up to the Kiwi opening batsman. Will Guptill go unsold in IPL 10 as well after his poor run this year is something only time will tell.

Positives from the retained players

Arguably the biggest plus point for MI in IPL 9 was the rise of their new-found all-rounder Krunal Pandya overshadowing his brother Hardik. From 12 matches, scoring 237 with strike rate of 191.12, saw an emergence of a new match-winner in the Mumbai Indians’ clan.

The biggest positive for Mumbai Indians was the performances of their bowlers despite the absence of their ace bowler Lasith Malinga. It was their bowlers who kept Mumbai in hunt and with retaining bowlers like Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan, the Pandya brothers, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard and Vinay Kumar on the side, Mumbai Indians seem in safe position with respect to bowling. With Malinga and Harbhajan Singh still in the squad, their presence will only make the game interesting in the next edition. In fact, McClenaghan held the Purple Cap for a while, which eventually went on to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Rohit remains to be the biggest player for Mumbai Indians. Winning two titles under his captaincy and his win against KKR at his favourite venue, Eden Gardens single-handedly cannot be ignored. His variations on playing different bowlers as the situation demanded, also brings his captaincy skills into foray.

Barring Rohit, the usual heroes for Mumbai Indians have been Rayudu, Simmons, Parthiv Patel and the rise of the inclusion of Jos Buttler. Pollard was not at his usual best and will need to up his game. With Krunal on the side, MI have a batsman who can fill in for Pollard.

What is in store for Mumbai Indians in IPL 10?

With two crucial shortest format specialists axed for the coming season, Mumbai Indians can revamp their squad. Only handful of players like Rohit, Buttler, rising star Krunal and their consistent batsman Rayudu have been effective in IPL 9. With Pollard’s performance under spotlight, it provides opportunity for inclusion of few players on the side.

Saurabh Tiwary, Irfan Pathan, Pervez Rasool are few batsmen released from their respective franchises. International cricketers like Peter Handscomb, who got his maiden Test century against Pakistan at The Gabba and George Bailey are few who can be handy with the bat as well. Tiwary and Rasool have been in excellent form in Ranji Trophy 2016-17 as well.

However, with return of Simmons, Mumbai Indians might not want to tinker with their options on a large scale. But they definitely will want to eye on changing their opening batsmen option and bring Rohit down the order with pool of options in place with Afghanistan and England players in stake.

As for bowlers, Kyle Abbott, the Morkel brothers, Imran Tahir, Trent Boult and many others are in contention, in case Malinga continues to remain injured. Now with Mahela Jayawardene gracing as head coach from the next edition, there are lots of positives to take in IPL 10 for Mumbai Indians.

Players released and retained by Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians Released Players
Players Bid Amount
Corey Anderson 450,00,000
Marchant De Lange 30,00,000
Unmukt Chand 75,00,000
Akshay Wakhare 10,00,000
Nathu Singh 320,00,000
Kishore Pramod Kamath 140,00,000
Martin Guptill 50,00,000
Jerome Taylor 50,00,000

 

Mumbai Indians Retained
Players Bid Amount
Rohit Sharma 1250,00,000
Kieron Pollard 950,00,000
Lasith Malinga 750,00,000
Harbhajan Singh 550,00,000
Ambati Rayudu 400,00,000
Jasprit Bumrah 120,00,000
Shreyas Gopal 10,00,000
Lendl Simmons 55,00,000
Ranganath Vinay Kumar 299,50,000
Parthiv Patel 140,00,000
Mitchell McClenaghan 30,00,000
Nitish Rana 10,00,000
Siddhesh Dinesh Lad 10,00,000
J Suchith 10,00,000
Hardik Pandya 10,00,000
Jos Buttler 380,00,000
Tim Southee 250,00,000
Jitesh Sharma 10,00,000
Krunal Pandya 200,00,000
Deepak Punia 10,00,000
Salary Cap Spent 544,450,000
Balance of Salary Cap 1155,50,000
No of Players 20
No of Overseas Players 6

At the moment they have retained 20 players including 6 international cricketers.

Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Jagadeesha Suchith, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Tim Southee, Jitesh Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia.