MUMBAI INDIANS

IPL TEAM PREVIEW

After much anticipation and exasperating wait, the high-profile franchise Mumbai Indians finally clinched their maiden IPL crown last year. A few months later, they also added their second Champions League title to their kitty. For a team which has always been under the radar due to the expectations from the marquee names in their squad, winning the much coveted IPL crown was a shot in the arm for the Mumbai based franchise.

Moving on, team MI might have lost a few of their consistent performers at the recently concluded auction. That said, the MI think-tank unanimously retained their stalwarts in Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga. Besides, they have also roped in a couple of young blokes who could raise a few eyebrows in the IPL.

This MI line-up is star-studded with myriad match winners in their ranks. Also, MI is one of the few teams to have variations and penetration in their bowling attack. This could augur well for them going ahead.

Total Squad Strength: 21

Overseas players: 8

Most expensive player: Michael Hussey (INR 5 crore)

The team:

Batsmen: Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Apoorv Wankhede, Michael Hussey

Wicket-keepers: Ben Dunk, CM Gautam, Aditya Tare, Sushant Marathe

All-rounders: Corey Anderson, Kieron Pollard, Jalaj Saxena

Bowlers: Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Krishmar Santokie, Pawan Suyal, Jasprit Bumrah, Josh Hazlewood, Shreyas Gopal, M de lange

Strategy:

The Mumbai Indians have always banked on their international stars to come out firing on all cylinders. That said, the Indian domestic cricketers have not stepped up to the occasion, owing to which the franchise has suffered in some areas. In the past, this star-studded team has also choked under pressure, but their triumph in the last edition will boost their confidence exponentially going ahead.

The Mumbai Indians have perennially believed in strengthening their all-round department. Moving ahead, MI once again has intimidating overseas all-rounders who could make some serious impact in the league. As we have seen in the past, the all-rounders have done the trick for MI and the forthcoming season could witness a similar story.

The bowling too has plenty of variety with both national and international bowlers. MI has bowlers for all conditions and with the tournament being staged in different environments, this franchise may have little worries on the bowling front.

The wicket-keeping slot could be a bit of a bother. With a few rookies in the team, the wicket-keeping position could be shuffled on several occasions which may not serve the team well. Also, the Indian batsmen’s role apart from R Sharma and Rayudu could come under the scanner.

Probable 11:

1 Michael Hussey

2 Aditya Tare

3 Ambati Rayudu

4 Rohit Sharma

5 Kieron Pollard

6 Corey Anderson/K Santokie

7 Jalaj Saxena

8 Harbhajan Singh

9 Zaheer Khan

10 Pragyan Ojha

11 Lasith Malinga

Our fantasy picks: Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Pragyan Ojha, Michael Hussey

Injuries: Big hitting all-rounders Kieron Pollard and Corey Anderson are recovering pretty well from their respective injuries. MI will be desperate to unleash them at the earliest, but would also be cautious considering the pairs vulnerability to various injuries.

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