IPL 2017 : Mumbai Indians – Seeking to recapture the aura of 2013 and 2015

The Mumbai Indians are back to rock the world in tenth edition of IPL. If you go and analyze the IPL squads in previous years, you will find that there was no edition when Mumbai wasn”t the strongest team on paper. Never ever they faced dearth of superstars in their side.

But this time around, it something different altogether! None of their squad of any previous edition matches the prowess of this Mumbai Indians squad. No doubt, Mumbai Indians are the mightiest in this edition among all teams, but if you make a list of the best T20I teams of all time, this will be right up there.

Their firepower in batting line up, their lethal pace attack, their spin bowling department who can outfox even the best in the biz make them the most compelling team in IPL. If all players convert their potential into performance, there is no reason why MI can”t be the first time to win the IPL thrice.

Strengths – All good T20 teams have 2-3 big hitters who can tear apart bowling attack and hit sixes at will. This Mumbai Indians squad has 5-6 of such kind. Mitchell Johnson”s comeback to MI means MI now have Malinga, Johnson, McCleanghan, Bumrah and Southee. This is arguably the deadliest pace attack in IPL ever.

Weakness – Potentially, there is no weakness on paper. However, Rohit has just recovered from injury and hasn”t played much cricket off late. This is their only worry if ever there was one. But again it”s very exiguous in magnitude.

X-Factor – This Mumbai Indians team has 3 quality options for every slot, right from No.1 to No.11. No other side in the league has got so much of a quality back up.

Probable XI – Parthiv Patel (WK), Rohit Sharma (C), Ambati Rayudu, Jos Buttler, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah

Rohit Sharma has often batted in middle order for Mumbai Indians because of team”s requirement. But this strong and resilient batting line up gives him freedom to open the innings and express himself. Parthiv Patel has reinvented himself as batsman in last domestic season and is likely to open with Rohit. At 3 will bat Mumbai”s man for all seasons, the Mr. Dependable Ambati Rayudu. The middle order has got firepower in plenty with the likes of Buttler, Pollard and Pandya bros.

Harbhajan and Krunal Pandya will handle the spin department. Having Mitchell Johnson in this line up means Mumbai can use him in first 6 overs to save Malinga and Bumrah at the death.

As per news, England players are likely to leave on May 1 for ODI series against Ireland. Buttler is the only Englishman in MI ranks. Mumbai Indians have got Nicolas Pooran, Lendl Simmons as back up for Buttler. It is also to be seen whether uncapped players like Siddhesh Lad, Nitish Rana, K Gowtham get a look in, but given the strength of this side they may have to wait just a little bit longer.

Players bought at the auction:
Mitchell Johnson, Karn Sharma, K Gowtham, Nicolas Pooran, Saurabh Tiwary, Asela Gunarathna and Kulwant Khejrollya.

Squad – Rohit Sharma (C), Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, J Suchith, Hardik Pandya, Jos Buttler, Tim Southee, Jithesh Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nicholas Pooran, Mitchell Johnson, K Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, A Gunarathna , K Khejroliya

– by Atharva Apte

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