Much similar to the graph of IPL’s popularity, the graph of consistency, fame, and reliability of certain franchises has also only shot up. And one such is Mumbai Indians.
July 24th, 2020 finally brought the scathing desire of all IPL-fanatics to an end as the IPL Governing Council chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed the dates of the long-awaited and extensively-delayed T20 league. The 2020 edition is set to commence on September 19 with the final likely to be played on November 10. The tournament, shifted in its entirety to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was postponed several times in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic prior to being postponed indefinitely.
There were speculations that even suggested a possible cancellation of the event altogether. However, after multiple meets of the Governing Council and the long-anticipated announcement of the postponement of the ICC T20 World Cup arriving last week, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) ensured to capitalize on the new options.
In the 12-year history of the cash-rich league, this will be the third occasion when it will be held outside the boundaries of India. The second edition of the IPL was conducted in South Africa owing to general elections in India.
Due to the same reason, an initial leg of 20 matches was held in the UAE in the 2014 season. Inaugurated in 2008, IPL has gained incredible prominence over the world as arguably the finest short-format league of cricket and the graph of its craze has only gone upwards.
Much similar to the graph of IPL’s popularity, the graph of consistency, fame, and reliability of certain franchises has also only shot up. And one such is Mumbai Indians. The four-time-winners have been one of the trendiest sides in the history of the tournament. They occupied the services of some dazzling players this year at the auction and retained the correct ones as always.
Let’s take a look at what could their best probable XI be:
1. Rohit Sharma
The elegant opener and right-handed batsman has had a glorious run of success through his years in the IPL. A batsman as successful as any, Rohit has also played the role of captaincy to perfection. Under his leadership, the team has won as many as four titles in seven years and he has a win percentage of 58.65 per cent in 60 matches as a skipper.
Rohit, who has been India’s opener for over half a decade, used to open rather sporadically for his IPL franchise until 2018. However, in 2019 he became a regular in that slot and hasn’t looked back ever since. One of the most free-flowing batsmen, Hitman can run the game as per his whims once he gets going. He will certainly be opening the proceedings with a bang like last year.
However, MI is going to face an opening conundrum as the acquisition of Chris Lynn at the auctions this year has given them a potent option apart from Quinton de Kock in the opening slot. Given the consistency of Rohit Sharma as an opener, it is highly unlikely that he will be displaced to accommodate any other player.
2. Quinton de Kock
De Kock is an experienced opener who has opened for his previous franchises as well as his national team. His services were acquired by MI last year and he did not prove their investment wrong as he scored 529 runs in the entire season and ended as one of the top contributors of the team.
De Kock was also the designated wicket-keeper for the most part of the league last year and affected 19 dismissals behind the wicket. He is quite sound technically and has the knack to play aggressively at the top. Alongside Rohit Sharma, he proved to be lethal and will, in all probability, open this year as well.
MI has the option to rest De Kock later to pair Chris Lynn with Rohit Sharma in the opening slot and throw the gloves to Ishan Kishan, their backup wicket-keeper.
3. Chris Lynn
Chris Lynn is a terrific addition by all standards to an already settled and strong unit. He is an incredibly explosive batsman and a marvellous fielder who can take the game away in a flash. A hard-hitting top-order batsman, Lynn is highly experienced in the shorter formats of the game and has consistently contributed to the Big Bash League apart from the IPL.
Given his dominating nature with the bat, he is most suitable at the top where he can also make the best use of fielding restrictions. Apart from adding some quality in the top-order of MI, Lynn has also added to the headache of team selection.
He is ideally fit in the spot of an opener, however, if MI decides to play de Kock and Rohit, Lynn can easily adjust himself at No. 3. Alternatively, he might get a chance to open if de Kock is excluded and Ishan Kishan is brought in at No. 3.
4. Suryakumar Yadav
The Mumbai-local, Suryakumar Yadav is a supremely talented middle-order batsman. He has been associated with two IPL franchises– MI and KK– in his career and has performed for both. A clean striker of the cricket ball, Yadav is known for his improvisational skills with the bat. He plays fearless, positive cricket and has played solid innings as well as some cameos down the order.
He has been exceptionally well in his ability to adjust himself at different batting positions as he has not had any fixed number to bat more often than not. However, the kind of batsman he is, it is most suitable to make him bat at No. 4.
Amongst the many flashy big-hitters of MI, Yadav’s name is often lost in the mist, however, he has performed well enough to secure his place in the side. Yadav has been fairly consistent in the IPL seasons of 2018 and 2019 when he scored 512 runs at 36.57 and 424 at 32.61 respectively.
5. Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya has been one of the finds of IPL and has done brilliantly well to translate his exploits and form to secure a place in the national side as well. A flamboyant young lad, Pandya adds immense value to the team as a fast-bowling all-rounder. He confused many by his irregular performances with the bat and ball to be termed, at times, as a batsman who can bowl whereas the other times a bowler who can bat.
However, he silenced his critics in IPL 2019 by scoring 402 runs at an impressive average of 44.66 and a mind-baffling strike rate of 191.42. He also scalped 14 wickets with the ball to fulfill his all-round performance. Fitness has been an issue with him although he has focused immensely on it in the recent past.
Pandya is an insane hitter who can clear the boundary with ridiculous ease. He is the perfect No.5 for his team who can well bowl his quota of 4 with the ball.
6. Kieron Pollard
Known for his ruthless hitting abilities, Pollard has established his name as a giant of this format of the game. His association with MI dates back to 2010. There’s little to doubt about his abilities in the shorter format of the game, however, a glaring concern with him has been his patchy performances. Having played the IPL for over a decade and a plethora of other leagues around the world, his experience can be matched by few.
He had a terrible season in 2018 when he managed to score only 133 runs in 9 matches. He returned quite well in the 2019 edition, scoring 279 runs in 16 matches at 34.87 and a strike-rate of 156.74. On his day, Pollard can win a match singe-handedly and is undoubtedly an asset for the team.
Although Pollard plays in the team in the slot of an all-rounder, he has not been bowling at all since the last two editions. MI’s decorated bowling unit can be a reason for the same. MI has backed him incessantly and he will come in around No. 6 this year as well.
7. Krunal Pandya
The elder brother of Hardik, Krunal has proved an extremely handy all-rounder for MI over the years. Much like his brother, he also has the ability to clear the boundary and pierce the gaps in the field. He bowls left-arm orthodox and has been a genuine striker with the ball. Apart from his abilities with the bat and ball, Krunal is an agile fielder too.
Krunal is capable of making adjustments and can bat anywhere between No. 5 to No. 8. He has been quite consistent in all of his four appearances in the league thus far. He scored 183 runs and bagged 12 wickets in the previous edition of the IPL. He has been trusted by skipper Rohit Sharma and adds a great degree of flexibility to the team.
Contributing effectively in every facet of the game- batting, bowling, and fielding, he is surely a valuable asset for his side. He is expected to come in at No. 6 or 7.
8. Rahul Chahar
The 20-year-old leg spinner is a shining prospect for India. His elder brother, Deepak Chahar, has already proven his mettle to secure a place in the national team whereas Rahul has also represented India in a solitary T20I.
He grabbed spotlight through his exceptional performance in the domestic circuit before being picked by the Rising Pune Supergiant in the 2017 edition of IPL. Rahul did not get enough opportunities and played only 3 matches in the entire season. Picked by MI for the 2019 edition, he pounced on quickly and bagged 13 wickets in 13 matches at a reasonable economy of 6.55.
Rahul can prove to be lethal in the spin assisting conditions of UAE and must look forward to gathering experience and cement his spot this year.
9. Dhawal Kulkarni
The Mumbai-pacer was a member of the Mumbai Indian for 5 years running from the inaugural edition. He was released in 2014 after which he played for Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Lions and his services were acquired again by Mumbai Indians through IPL’s transfer window.
Known for having a knack of swinging the ball and giving early breakthroughs, Dhawal has managed to stay around in the IPL for long. MI has the services of Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult, and Nathan Coulter-Nile as well. However, the limitation of playing only 4 overseas players will certainly give him a chance to feature in a few matches.
Having played 90 matches throughout his IPL career, Dhawal has 86 wickets under his belt. His career economy of 8.26, however, is a slight bit of concern.
10. Jasprit Bumrah
Bumrah has simply been exceptional in his career, to say the least. He is a vital cog in the wheel of not just Mumbai Indians but India too. With his endless variations and a deceptive and awkward action, he has troubled every batsman he has ever bowled to.
A genuine wicket-taker, Bumrah is extremely capable to bowl at any stage of the match and is one of the most difficult bowlers to face. He has established himself as a go-to in death overs, however, his exploits with the new ball cannot be missed at all. He had a fantastic run in 2019, as he scalped 19 wickets in 16 matches at a miserly economy of 6.63.
Even prior to 2019, Bumrah was on the money in 2017 and 2018 when he picked 20 and 17 wickets respectively. He has been around in the IPL since 2013 and can certainly be termed as an experienced campaigner now.
11. Lasith Malinga
The Sri Lankan legend has been a mainstay of Mumbai Indians since the very inaugural edition of the IPL. His experience has led him to not just participate as a player but mentor the team as well. His slingy action coupled with the skill of bowling pin-point accurate yorkers makes him a bowler as lethal as any.
Malinga has been a renowned death specialist in the limited-over format of the game and is the most experienced bowler in the IPL. He has been a part of his franchise in every single edition and barring 2017, he has picked more than 15 wickets every time.
In 122 matches, Malinga has bagged 170 wickets and sits at the top of the list of leading wicket-takers in the history of the tournament. With age not being on his side, his performance and fitness have dipped a bit over the years, however, he remains to be one of the toughest bowlers to get away with.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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