Jerome Taylor (Left) will look to grab whatever opportunity he gets in IPL 2016 © AFP, IANS
Jerome Taylor (Left) will look to grab whatever opportunity he gets in IPL 2016 © AFP, IANS

Mumbai Indians (MI) are just about coping with life after the loss of Lasith Malinga, but they have found a replacement in Jerome Taylor. While there is no doubt as to who the better bowler among the two players are, the inclusion of Taylor in the squad will do little good in MI’s chances of retaining the Indian Premier League (IPL) title. Malinga, over the years, has been an excellent servant for MI. He is the leading wicket-taker in the history of the tournament, with 143 wickets in 98 matches. But Malinga was just more than numbers. His zippy, round-arm action was difficult to pick; and to add to batsmen’s woes, his other variations—the slower deliveries or yorkers—were absolutely unplayable. READ: Jerome Taylor joins Mumbai Indians for IPL 2016 in place of Lasith Malinga

There has been very few occasions where Malinga has had a bad day. With an economy of 6.67 and strike rate of 16, he was a lethal weapon. It was, however, evident that he may not play the tournament as he pulled out of the T20 World Cup 2016 and also gave up the captaincy due to his injury troubles.

But, is Taylor equipped to deliver for MI? Is he going to be any better than Tim Southee, Mitchell McClenaghan or Jasprit Bumrah? The only positive that can possibly emerge is that the likes of Southee and McClenaghan will be kept on their toes to perform. Any slip-up and Taylor will be there to pounce on that opportunity.

There is no comparison between Malinga and Taylor when it comes to the IPL, especially. Taylor has played for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Pune Warriors XI (PWXI) in the IPL so far. He has managed to pick up just six wickets in the five games so far; nonetheless, he is always going to be a patent threat. His pace and swing early on could trouble some of the top players. He showed some good form in a couple of Test series recently and will have to replicate that in the shortest format.

Taylor was in the West Indies squad that lifted the T20 World Cup 2016, but he managed to get just one game in the entire tournament. West Indies preferred to play an extra batsman in his place and it paid off.

MI had earlier dealt with an injury to Lendl Simmons, who was their star batsman at the top of the order. They replaced Simmons with Martin Guptill. Guptill has been kept out as others have performed well at the top. Taylor too may face a similar problem. He may have to wait till someone else messes up, but he should be a handful whenever he gets a game.

Taylor may not have the same impact as Malinga did, but he is surely a useful weapon to have in the side. Like Guptill, Taylor too was unsold in the auction this time, but he gets a chance to prove his worth with the defending champions. He will not be able to fill Malinga’s shoes, but he can collectively, with other bowlers, ensure that the team puts in a good show.

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)