IPL 2018 auction analysis: Mumbai Indians might get it right
If you had to name two of India's best T20 batsmen, you would name Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Mumbai Indians have Rohit as their captain
Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene (left) and captain Rohit Sharma during an event in Mumbai last year
If you had to name two of India's best T20 batsmen, you would name Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Mumbai Indians have Rohit as their captain. Who are India's two best T20 pacers and the answer is again obvious – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. And yes, MI have one among them – Bumrah - in their ranks. If all-rounders were the next thing on your list, then in Hardik Pandya they have just the lad.
Where they have an issue, if at all, is in the spin and wicketkeeping departments, where they didn't manage to reel in the best, but have instead invested in youth. Well, even the Mumbai Indians can't have everything but looked at from an overall viewpoint, they certainly have done well in their attempt to rebuild their squad.
Like with the Chennai Super Kings and perhaps Kolkata Knight Riders, continuity has been MI's central theme and to add weight to that not only did they use their Right To Match (RTM) cards for old faithful Kieron Pollard and their rising star Krunal Pandya, they also stuck to their theory of roping in some pacers from foreign shores, as in the likes of Pat Cummins and Mustafiqur Rahman.
They also got the hard-hitting West Indian batsman in Evin Lewis, perhaps as a replacement for Lendl Simmons. These are, of course, the prominent names. MI have also been well-known for their abundant support staff, that list at times overpowering the names in the final team sheet. Some of those staffers have spent months leading to this auction scouting talent all over the country and beyond. As many as 104 boys were spotted by MI scouts and invited to attend a three-day trial in Mumbai.
From the trials, which saw the combined spotting might of head coach Mahela Jayawardene, John Wright, TA Sekhar, Kiran More, Abey Kuruvilla and James Pamment (fielding coach) in attendance, along with Akash Ambani the team owner, as many as seven uncapped Indians, including hard-hitting wicketkeeper batsman Ishan Kishan, were picked up. As the young Ambani put it, "We got 90% of the squad we wanted. I think we just missed out on an experienced leg-spinner." They did, but they got most else right.
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Mumbai Indians celebrate IPL 2019 victory at Antilia