Defending champions Mumbai Indians were almost invincible last season and looked like the most complete team that a T20 side can dream of. The auctions are set to be held on 18 February and ahead of that Mumbai Indians have released almost the whole of their overseas pace bowling unit sans Trent Boult. Unlike last season, they have not indulged in any trade.
As we near the auctions, here we look at the list of players retained, which areas they need to focus on and who should they target in the auctions:
PLAYERS RETAINED: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock, Anmolpreet Singh, Aditya Tare, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jayant Yadav, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohsin Khan, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy
PLAYERS RELEASED: Mitchell McCleneghan, James Pattinson, Lasith Malinga, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Digvijay Deshmukh, Prince Balwant Rai Singh.
Auction purse left: 15.35 CR
AREAS OF FOCUS:
Mumbai Indians are one of the few teams with all bases covered. The defending champions have a formidable side and will look to focus on the following areas in the auctions:
Overseas Fast Bowling:
Having released almost the entire overseas fast bowling contingent except Boult, Mumbai will be looking to refill the resources cometh the auctions. McClenaghan, Pattinson, Malinga and Coulter-Nile have all been released and Boult remains the lone overseas pacer in the squad. Considering the injury worries and the issues of availability, MI need to get in atleast a couple of options among the overseas contingent.
Backup Middle Order:
It’s a fact that Mumbai Indians have the fiercest middle order in the tournament which is capable of chasing down any total or set any target. But the question is who can they fit in if someone like Kieron Pollard is unfit or unavailable? They simply do not have anyone who can play that role among the ones with Sherfane Rutherford released and hence the management should target an overseas player who can do the job of finishing with the bat.
PLAYERS TO TARGET:
Based on the requirements and the players available in the auctions, here are a few players MI should target in the upcoming auctions:
Jhye Richardson: One of the most impressive pacers in the recently concluded Big Bash League, Jhye Richardson is likely to attract high bids this season. The Aussie fast bowler who can score some quick runs down the order is known for his knack of wicket taking, both in powerplays as well as at the death. Richardson seems to be the perfect fit for the role played by Pattinson last season and hence likely to attract bids from the defending champions.
Kyle Jamieson: One of the finds of International cricket in 2020, New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson has not set a foot wrong ever since his debut against India. Though he is yet to prove his worth in T20 cricket, Jamieson is just the kind of player MI need in their XI. A tall hit-the-deck bowler with genuine pace, with the ability to bowl at any stage of the game and a very capable lower order batsman with the ability to tonk the ball at will, Jamieson is sure to attract huge bids. A proper number 8 is what MI needs at the moment and Jamieson fits in the requirement perfectly.
Ben Cutting: MI are in need of someone who can be a backup for the Caribbean stalwart Pollard, in case of inury or unavailability. Also, Hardik’s recurring injuries also means he might need a few breaks here and there. Former MI all-rounder Ben Cutting is the kind of a player who can prove to be a perfect backup for the likes of Pollard and Hardik, capable of hitting it long and giving a couple of overs. In the recently concluded BBL, Cutting hit 280 runs at an average of 40.00 and strike rate of 156.42.
Some of the other major names they could target include Jack Wildermuth, Colin de Grandhomme and Billy Stanlake.