(ATTN Editors: From Friday, IANS is beginning a series of profiles of the eight teams in the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League)
By Ajeyo Basu
New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) With a fairly new-look side under the leadership of Rohit Sharma for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), Mumbai Indians will be determined to defend the crown they won last season.
Apart from Rohit, all-rounder Hardik Pandya, fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, West Indies star Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya have been retained from last year.
Pandya and Bumrah were retained in the first-ever player retention event in January.
The defending champions later used the Right to Match (RTM) card to keep Pollard and Krunal in the squad.
However, some players who played key roles in Mumbai’s success last season like Nitish Rana, Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell McClenaghan have not been retained.
For this season, Mumbai have embellished their squad with left-handed West Indies opener Evin Lewis, young wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan and promising uncapped Indian batsman Suryakumar Yadav.
While Rohit has not been consistent in the five-day format, he has proved himself in limited-overs cricket and will be expected to lead Mumbai’s batting effort from the front along with the Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal.
With South African star Jean-Paul Duminy also a part of the mix, the Mumbai batting line-up has the power and flair to create problems for any bowling attack in the IPL.
The Mumbai pace bowling department is also promising this year with the likes of Bumrah, Pat Cummins and Mustafizur Rahman.
Cummins has been in good form during Australia’s ongoing tour of South Africa while Bumrah — known for his excellent death overs bowling — has played a key role for the Indian team recently in all formats.
The duo are expected to be among the pillars of the Mumbai pace bowling attack along with Hardik while Pradeep Sangwan, Jason Behrendroff and Rahman have the ability to play an effective supporting role.
Veteran Sri Lankan star Lasith Malinga, a death over specialist known for his accurate yorkers, also has the experience and skills to be a match winner on his day.
The spin bowling department however, is something of a weakness. Left-arm slow ordhodox Krunal is one of the most experienced spinners in the squad while fellow left-armer Anukul Roy — one of the stars of the U-19 World Cup winning squad — is expected to play a key role along with young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.
Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Pat Cummins, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar, Pradeep Sangwan, Jason Behrendorff, Jean-Paul Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Dhillon, Akila Dhananjaya, Nidheesh M.D. Dinesan, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan.
(Ajeyo Basu can be contacted at [email protected])