Accepting that it would be difficult to fill the boots of veteran pacer Lasith Malinga – who pulled out of the Indian Premier League – Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma – calling the Sri Lankan as a match-winner – pointed out three bowlers who could take his position this season in UAE.

“I don’t think it is easy to come and fill his boots. He has been a match-winner for Mumbai. I have said it many times, whenever we sort of find ourselves in trouble, Malinga was the one to bail us out from that,” Rohit said during the pre-season press conference.

According to the MI skipper, the three bowlers that could replace Malinga this season are James Pattinson, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan.

“We have got likes (James) Pattinson, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin (Khan) and these are the names that we are looking to replace Malinga with. But obviously, what Malinga did for Mumbai, it is not just comparable,” he said.

Australia’s James Pattinson is the official replacement of the Lankan pacer.

During the presser, head coach Mahela Jayawardena also confirmed that Rohit Sharma would be opening the batting with South African top-order batsman Quinto De Kock.

Lasith Malinga Loss

It is a big loss for MI, as Malinga has won them matches for over a decade. With 170 scalps to his name, he is the all-time highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. He pulled out of the tournament citing ‘personal reasons’.

MI vs CSK

Mumbai Indians would start their title defense against MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings on September 19 in Abu Dhabi. It is expected to be a cracker, also because Dhoni would be making a comeback to the game after more than 18 months and it will be his first appearance after announcing his international retirement.