Astute strategy when it comes to releasing, retaining and buying talents in the auctions has defined much of Mumbai Indians’ success. The franchise have always believed in building a strong core of players, who have been instrumental in making them highly successful. Their 4 titles lay testament to the fact of what a well-oiled machine Mumbai Indians have been over the years.
In the 2020 season, MI will look to retain the title. Their strategy bears a similar resemblance to what they have practised over the years. The big guns have been retained, while the players on the periphery have been released. There is also an attempt to refresh the squad in certain areas. Though MI will have the smallest cap heading into the auctions, you can bank on them to spend it wisely and buy a couple of explosive talents.
Here we take a look at how the franchise stacks up ahead of the big day in Kolkata on December 19:
Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Anmolpreet Singh, Jayant Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anukul Roy, Dhawal Kulkarni (Traded in), Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Sherfane Rutherford (Traded in), Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan, Trent Boult (Traded in).
Evin Lewis, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Beuran Hendricks, Ben Cutting, Yuvraj Singh, Mayank Markande (Traded out), Barinder Sran, Rasikh Salam, Pankaj Jaswal, Siddhesh Lad (Traded out), Alzarri Joseph.
Why were they retained?
Coming as no surprise to anyone, MI have retained all the big guns. Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, the Pandya brothers, Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard will form a sensational core. They will be a feature of the playing XI and will be a tough proposition for any opponents. Young Ishan Kishan will be expected to have a big season in 2020 providing some explosive hitting in the middle-order. Suryakumar Yadav is also in sensational form on the domestic circuit.
Why were they released?
The likes of Adam Milne, Barinder Sran and Evin Lewis, who could not impress much have been all let go. Jason Behrendorff is facing a long injury lay-off has not been retained. Alzarri Joseph and Ben Cutting though capable of breathtaking moments, also find themselves cut from the squad due to their inconsistent performances. Yuvraj Singh recently announced his retirement from international cricket and will not be back in the IPL.
The trade window
In the trade window, MI have decided to strengthen their pace bowling department. Lasith Malinga is no spring chicken anymore and Jasprit Bumrah will require support from the other end. The acquisition of Trent Boult, one of the finest exponents with the ball in the shorter formats could well prove to be a masterstroke. Boult was ineffective on the low and slow pitches of Delhi, but the true nature of the surface at the Wankhede Stadium will provide him much greater help. Dhawal Kulkarni will also be an experienced hand and could be effective as the third seamer. Sherfane Rutherford is widely tipped to make it big in the future. Trading him for Mayank Markande was a wise move and it could well be a breakthrough season for the hard-hitting Caribbean all-rounder.
Possible strategy for the auctions
With the playing XI already strong, Mumbai may decide to strengthen their bench. There will be a focus on bringing in some young Indian talent, who could contribute coming off the bench whenever needed. They may also decide to sign a couple of pacers to provide backup. A second spinner will also be required to provide competition to Rahul Chahar and also bowl in tandem on surfaces which assist spin. Piyush Chawla who was released by KKR could provide a decent option to MI to groom and back up the young Chahar. Mumbai also have a reputation of going all guns blazing for the latest up and coming talent in international cricket. Someone like English opener Tom Banton fits the bill perfectly and MI may be interested in his services. With only a purse of 13.05 crores available at their disposal, Mumbai Indians will certainly have to be shrewd during the auctions.