Overseas pacers, the key focus area for Mumbai Indians (MI) as we analyze their auction strategy for IPL 2021.
The 5-times champion, Mumbai Indians had a rather surprising pre-auction phase for IPL 2021. Unlike their history in the past few years, Mumbai Indians released a lot of players in the Auction; most of them were overseas pacers. The list includes Nathan Coulter-Nile, Lasith Malinga, Sherfane Rutherford, Mitchell McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Prince Balwant Rai, and Digvijay Deshmukh.
Overseas players are vital for any IPL side, and for Mumbai Indians, their heart has predominantly lied in the overseas pacers. So, when they released not 1 but 5 overseas players in the auction pool, it actually felt like a surprising move. This has actually disturbed the balance of their team.
Overall, Mumbai Indians still have a good core intact, but there are a few gaps which they will have to address in the IPL 2021 Auction. So, what strategy does Mumbai Indians need to adopt for the IPL 2021 Auction? Let’s find out in this article. Before that, let’s quickly look at the retained squad of Mumbai Indians ahead of IPL 2021 Auction.
Mumbai Indians’ Retained Squad ahead of IPL 2021 Auction:
Total Retained Players: 18 // Total Overseas Players: 4 // Total Purse Available: INR 15.35 Cr.
Batsmen: Aditya Tare (WK), Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Ishan Kishan (WK), Quinton de Kock (WK), Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, and Saurabh Tiwary.
All-rounders: Anukul Roy, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, and Krunal Pandya.
Bowlers: Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohsin Khan, Rahul Chahar, and Trent Boult.
#3: Purchase an Overseas Spinner
Mumbai Indians currently have only two good spinners in their squad in the form of Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar. If we look at the performance of both these bowlers, it doesn’t inspire much. In the last two years, Krunal has taken only 18 wickets at a poor average of 39.7. Whereas Chahar has taken a decent 28 wickets at an average of 26.5.
While an experienced Krunal has been way below par, Chahar has been rather decent, and is still inexperienced. Hence, the team definitely needs a good overseas spinner who can be utilized on spin-friendly pitches, and can also provide valuable guidance to both these spinners.
Looking at the options they have, Mumbai Indians can look to purchase a spinner from the likes of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Moeen Ali, Mitchell Swepson, Adil Rashid, and Shakib Al Hasan. If not these, even their old bloke, Harbhajan Singh, who didn’t feature in 2020, and was released by Chennai Super Kings can be a good option.
#2: Purchase a back-up Middle-order Batsman
Mumbai Indians saw some good performances in the middle-order in IPL 2020 by the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya. While all these are confirmed to start in the playing XI in IPL 2021, the team is still short of a good back-up middle-order batsman.
Given that Mumbai Indians have 4 overseas sports left, they can fill one of those with an overseas middle-order batsman. The only thing is Mumbai Indians can’t spend much for this spot. They have only around 15 crores left, and they have to fill 4 good overseas players in that.
So, looking at the current list of good available players, they can look to purchase one of Steve Smith, Sam Billings, or Glenn Maxwell. Then there are good Indian options too in the form of Kedar Jadhav, Karun Nair, Shivam Dube, and Hanuma Vihari.
#1: Purchase Two Overseas Pacers
Pacers have been the heart of Mumbai Indians whenever they have performed well in IPL. It is always a combination of 3-4 pacers that Mumbai Indians use as one of their strengths. Moreover, the Wankhade pitch traditionally supports pace, and that is the reason Mumbai Indians always need to have a good 3-4 pacers in their squad.
That’s when it surprised me when Mumbai Indians released not 1 but 4 Pacers in the Auction pool leaving their pace department unbalanced. While they still have Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult as the two leading pacers, they need a couple of more to make it a formidable pace battery.
Looking at the options they have from the list of good pacers, they can go for the likes of Chris Morris, Jhye Richardson, Mark Wood, David Willey, Sheldon Cottrell, or Liam Plunkett. They can also look to purchase Nathan Coulter-Nile at a lower price as he was overpaid in IPL 2020.
So, that’s the strategy Mumbai Indians (MI) need to adopt for IPL 2021 Auction. Overall, Mumbai Indians are well covered in most of the areas, and it is predominantly about a few gaps in the spin and pace department.
Thanks for reading! So, which players should Mumbai Indians target in the IPL 2021 Auction? Please email your thoughts on email@example.com
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.