Mumbai Indians, the most successful franchise in the history of Indian Premier League (IPL) with five titles in their kitty, have got a chance to begin life post the mega auctions with a well-stacked squad.
IANS takes a look at the aspects in which Mumbai excel, and also the areas in which they have to work upon.
With Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan to open the batting, followed by Suryakumar Yadav (his availability is still unknown due to a hairline fracture) and Kieron Pollard, Mumbai’s batting looks strong. With the presence of emerging batters like Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, Anmolpreet Singh and Tim David, Mumbai can be hopeful of carrying forward their success with the willow from the previous years.
In the pace bowling department, Jasprit Bumrah continues to spearhead the attack. He will be joined by England’s T20 specialist Tymal Mills. Australians Daniel Sams and Riley Meredith, apart from domestic seamers Jaydev Unadkat, Basil Thampi, Arshad Khan and Arjun Tendulkar, keep Mumbai in good stead when it comes to pace options to choose from.
Undoubtedly, Mumbai’s spin department is a big pocket of weakness. Sanjay Yadav, Fabien Allen, Mayank Markande and Murugan Ashwin are their spin options. But with no Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav or Krunal Pandya in the mix, they don’t have a recognised top-quality spinner to lead the charge in the middle overs. More importantly, as the pitches will get slow as the tournament progresses, the five-time winners might feel the need for a quality spinner.
Also, with Trent Boult gone, Mumbai needs to search for a potent wicket-taking option in the power-play overs. With Bumrah usually bowling just one (rarely two overs) with the new ball and Jofra Archer unavailable for this season, the onus of taking wickets up front will fall on the other pacers in the group.
Chance for Tilak Verma and Dewald Brevis to become the rising stars with the bat in IPL 2022. Deemed as a ‘massive talent’ by head coach Mahela Jayawardene in the pre-season virtual press conference, left-handed Verma, a top-order batter from Hyderabad, was bought by the franchise for Rs 1.7 crore. He was also impressive in the 2021/22 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy, making 215 runs in seven games at a strike rate of 147.26.
Brevis, nicknamed ‘Baby AB’ due to resemblance of his batting with South Africa legend AB de Villiers, was the Player of the Tournament in the recent U-19 World Cup. He finished the tournament as the highest run-scorer, making 506 runs at 84.33 with a strike rate of 90.19, including two centuries and three half-centuries.
What if their overdependence on core players backfires in case of poor form or injury? Moreover, if they don’t get their bowling attack sorted, it could hit them hard going forward in the tournament.