Eh, Indian Premier League is back and it’s back with a bang. The cash-rich cricketainment league will begin on April 7, 2018, and fans are eagerly waiting for their stars to return and once again mesmerise them. India’s financial capital i.e. Mumbai is always in the news and its franchise Mumbai Indians, owned by billionaire business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, have created a niche for themselves and go into IPL 2018 as one of the favourites.
Mumbai Indians has been the most successful franchise in the IPL history (2013, 2015, 2017) and have won the title three times. One of the most important ingredients of MI’s success has been to retain their core players and before the auction, the team had already retained Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Hardik Pandya. Mumbai Indians management and owners believe in stability and continuity and that’s why during the mega-auction they bought back Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya.
So, what will happen during this year’s IPL? Mumbai Indians during the mega-auction picked players depending upon the requirement and somewhat revamped their side. The experience players such as Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga (now bowling mentor), Mitchell Johnson were let go and players with potential such as Mustafizur Rahman, Pat Cummins, Ishan Kishan, Evin Lewis were picked keeping an eye on the future.
Mumbai Indians’ squad certainly looks formidable on the paper (but cricket is not played on paper) and with Rohit Sharma leading the side and certainties in Pandya brothers, Pollard and Bumrah in the starting eleven, the team looks set to be serious contenders for the title. To achieve success in IPL, you need to have seven good domestic Indian players and MI have quite a good bunch when it comes to that. The only problem for Mumbai would be in the spin department, with no Harbhajan and it could cause them problems later in the tournament. The team will be relying on youngsters in Anukul Roy, Rahul Chahar along with Krunal Pandya to fill the void left by Harbhajan Singh.
MI have some concerns in the middle order with no pedigreed Indian domestic player, and Hardik with his brother Krunal will have to assess the conditions. With Kieron Pollard’s star fading, it could be a problem area and seniors such as Suryakumar Yadav (Mumbai Ranji team senior player) and Proteas veteran Jean-Paul Duminy will have to do the bulk of the scoring.
The coaching staff will be led by former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene and the management will be stressing on doing the basics right and keeping the boys motivated through the long hectic season. MI have most bases covered and despite few senior players missing, the Nita Ambani led team will again pushing for silverware and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they win the coveted trophy yet again.
Prediction for 2018: Top four finish likely, strong contenders for the title
Mumbai Indians (likely XI): Rohit Sharma, Evin Lewis, Ishan Kishan (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, JP Duminy, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar