IPL 9: Despite domestic talent, will it be a starry affair for Mumbai Indians?

Apr 08, 2016, 08:30 IST | Harit N Joshi

After acquiring maximum domestic players at the auction in February, Mumbai Indians could change their hitherto approach and rely on domestic talent rather than established players

Mumbai Indians is one of those Indian Premier League (IPL) teams that relies heavily on its star-studded international players to provide the firepower.

This way, coach: Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma arrives for a media interaction with coach
Ricky Ponting at a city hotel yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

While you see other teams in the IPL promoting their domestic recruits, Mumbai Indians have somewhat been  averse to this strategy. Last season when MI won the IPL, nine players out of their playing XI were international stars.
However, going by MI’s strategy for the IPL-9 auction, where they bought only six players of which four are domestic cricketers, things could change.

MI purchased Rajasthan pacer Nathu Singh for Rs 3.20 crore in February
MI purchased Rajasthan pacer Nathu Singh for Rs 3.20 crore in February

In fact, MI invested heavily in domestic players, splurging Rs 3.20 crore for Nathu Singh, R2 crore for Krunal Pandya and R1.4 crore for Kishore Kamath. They also roped in Jitesh Sharma and Deepak Puniya for Rs 10 lakh each. The two internationals they got from the auction were Jos Buttler and Tim Southee.

Lacking FC experience
Rajasthan’s Nathu is just six first-class matches old, Krunal, the elder brother of India and MI star Hardik Pandya, has not played any first-class matches for Baroda so far, while Kamath has not even represented his state Karnataka as yet. The leggie though has impressed in the Karnataka Premier League.

With Mumbai Indians going after relatively unknown domestic players, there are indications that they could give  these relatively unknown domestic players more opportunities.

Mumbai Indians coach Ricky Ponting admitted there’s a possibility. “Hopefully, there will be opportunities for these young guys at some stage through the tournament. It will be great to unearth another Hardik Pandya like last time. That’s also my job to bring these young guys as quickly as we can,” Ponting told reporters yesterday.

Ponting said he has good back-ups for the established stars in the team. “Nitesh Rana had a terrific domestic season. Nathu Singh is arguably the fastest bowler in Indian domestic tournaments. Jitesh Sharma, the wicketkeeper-batsman, can open the innings. Unmukt Chand is an exciting prospect, who is waiting in the wings to show how good he is. So, we have good back-ups if needed,” said the Australian “As I said, the competition for our line-up for the first game is exactly how I would have liked to be. There are a lot of guys pushing hard during trainig for their selection. I am sure you will see some really good talented players if they get an opportunity,” Ponting concluded.

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