Mumbai like to be among elites in cricket, be it Ranji Trophy or the lucrative Indian Premier League. They don’t mind looking posh at the auction or in the matter of drafting coaches. A strong support system coupled with consistent retaining of players and backing local talents have made them the team they are. Passing on the captaincy baton to Rohit Sharma has done wonders as they now have two trophies by their side. After a below par season in 2016, the Mumbai Indians would like to get back to winning ways.
But, have they managed to fill the loopholes?
They can play with an entirely different eleven in their two innings and still be competent enough. Such has been the depth with potential match winners in each department. Rohit is back from his injury and will look to get into his groove. Malinga too has just warmed up after months since recovering from his mangled knee. Mitchell Johnson looked more terrifying even without his MO in the concluded BBL as he set Perth scorchers up to their third title. 3/3 and 1/13 were his returns in the semis and the finals respectively. Ambati Rayudu , Harbhajan Singh, Pollard are prominent faces in who can turn into match winners on their day.
Parthiv Patel is riding on a high after his short stint for India and leading Gujarat to title in domestic circuit, his starts with Simmons at the top can be vital. The Pandya all-rounders are capable of scoring quickly at the end and can fill in some more than useful overs. Mitchell McClenaghan’s aggressive display with the ball helped Mumbai clinch the title two years back and he had a decent last season, and it will be interesting to see if Rohit prefers the Kiwis’ Mitchell ahead of his Aussie namesake. Another unorthodox weapon will be Bumrah who can choke the run flow as well as pick wickets whenever he is brought in.
With players like Asela Gunaratne and Nicholas Pooran supposedly warming the benches, Mumbai Indians look like the team to beat in IPL 2017.
A team’s character resembles that of their captains, and so Mumbai’s is lazy elegance. “As far as consistency is concerned, we were not able to continue for three or four games” was the Mumbai Indians’ skipper’s take after their early exit last season. They were made to turn on the television to check for result of their contemporaries after things went out of control. Their record winning march to title in 2015 meant they can be consistent and look invincible, but a few hiccups here and there can turn out to be what it was in 2016. If they as a bunch can remain consistent without any loss in intensity, IPL 10 could easily turn out to be theirs.
Mahela Jayawardene and Rohit Sharma will form one of the most elegant coach-captain combos in IPL. This will be the Lankan’s first ever stint as a full-time coach and the team’s performance under him will stake his claim for further contracts. This is one alluring feature of IPL where any youngster who has caught the management’s attention, but is yet to enter limelight can horn their skills under the seasoned ones. The MI players can surely pick up Jayawardene’s brain, who knows the ropes of the game.
They do have dependable bench strength in case of any injury, but they have to make sure that the loss of any player to injury is not felt by the team. Though there are endless arguments on the existence of something called momentum in cricket, the players ride on it. They don’t like that to be disturbed when things go in their favor. But that is the beauty of the sport, momentum gets disturbed, your key players get injured, and therein lies the challenge of carrying the team forward in unforeseen circumstances
If Mumbai Indians win another IPL title, they will have three trophies, the most by any team. Things surrounding them look good to make it three, but it all will depend on their confidence and consistency once they take the field.
Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Nicholas Pooran, Mitchell Johnson, K Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary , A Gunarathna, K Khejroliya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, J Suchith, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Tim Southee, Jithesh Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia.
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