Defending champions Mumbai Indians will be looking to continue their winning ways as they get ready to defend their title once again in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this season. MI stretched the record for most IPL titles with their fifth triumph last year and will be looking to do the same in IPL 2021.
Rohit Sharma will once again lead a well-set team which has most bases covered for the new season. Last year they already achieved what they were looking for, to win the IPL in an even year, and will be eyeing another milestone as they look to make it a hat-trick of IPL titles this year.
MI ticked most boxes in their campaign last season where they won 9 out of the 14 matches to finish the league stage on top of the ladder. Players like Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock and the Pandya brothers - Hardik & Krunal - were in tremendous form throughout the tournament which was the main reason behind their success.
Kishan and Surya even broke into the Indian T20I team as a result of their exploits in IPL 2020.
Most of their Indian players are in top form heading into IPL 2021 which augurs well for a team which has been performing like a well-oiled machine over the last 3 seasons. They are definitely one of the favourites to lift the trophy once again this year.
THE NEW RECRUITS
Mumbai Indians once again played it very smart in the IPL auctions for the 2021 season by bringing in power-packed players like Adam Milne, James Neesham and Marco Jansen apart from others. They also bought back Nathan Coulter-Nile to bolster their bowling attack which already has Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult in it.
Milne recently made his international comeback for New Zealand after 2 years, picking 3 wickets in the 2 T20Is that he played against Bangladesh. The 28-year-old is easily be the fastest bowler in the MI unit and is a terrific addition to their squad.
Milne's Kiwi teammate Neesham was in even better form in the Bangladesh T20Is in which he picked wickets and scored runs with the bat. And with Coulter-Nile also back in the mix, MI will be spoilt for choices when it comes to picking players who can with them matches with bat and ball this season.
Another interesting addition to MI this season is that of Arjun Tendulkar. The tall left-arm seamer will not only be in line to make his IPL debut this year but also get to train under his legendary father - Sachin Tendulkar - during the tournament.
Courtesy of BCCI
Lasith Malinga missed the IPL last year due to personal reasons and was subsequently released by MI, thus, ending an association which lasted 13 years. The Sri Lankan legend gained cult status in Mumbai and became the most successful bowler in IPL with 170 wickets from 122 matches that even included a five-for.
This will officially be the first time MI will go into the IPL without Malinga even though he didn't play a single match for them in IPL 2020. The 37-year-old retired from franchise cricket earlier this year and he leaves behind a legacy that may never be matched either by any other player at MI.
Malinga trained Jasprit Bumrah to take over the mantle of leading their attack in the IPL and therefore, his absence might not hurt MI that much as they already got a taste of life without him last year.
Rohit Sharma Instagram Photo
Rohit Sharma will be spoilt for choices this season as he already has a well-settled lineup from last year. The team management has made sure to draft in players and their replacements to cover every aspect of the game.
The sheer number of world-class all-rounders in their squad - Kieron Pollard Hardik, Krunal and Coulter-Nile - only adds to their team balance.
The only thing they have to worry about initially is the opening slot as Quinton de Kock will miss the first few games for MI due to his international commitments with South Africa.
Ishan Kishan might get promoted up the order and open with Rohit or Chris Lynn, who did not get a single game last season, might get to make his debut for the 5-time champions this year.
The rest of the players pretty much pick themselves as most can walk into any T20 squad in international cricket.
Surya, who shone with the bat in his debut series for India last month, will come in to bat at his usual No. 4 position followed by Kishan, Pollard, Hardik, Krunal and Coulter-Nile following suit.
For the spinner's slot there will be a toss-up between leg-spinners Rahul Chahar, Piyush Chawla and offie Jayant Yadav, who can also hold his own with the bat.
Chahar is likely to get the nod ahead o fate remaining two spinners due to his experience of playing for MI with Chawla and Yadav getting games in between depending on the ground conditions and team situation.
Jasprit Bumrah will once again lead the fast-bowling attack with New Zealand star Trent Boult and with the additions of Milne and Coulter-Nile, MI's unit once again looks like the best among all 8 teams.
This might be another year when they run away with the trophy thanks to their star-studded lineup under their superstar skipper Rohit Sharma, who just knows how to get the best out of his players when he puts on the blue and gold jersey.
MI FULL SQUAD
Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan (WK), Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan, Adam Milne, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Piyush Chawla, James Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen, Arjun Tendulkar.
MI FULL SCHEDULED FOR IPL 2021
April 9: Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - 7:30 PM IST, Chennai
April 13: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Mumbai Indians - 7:30 PM IST, Chennai
April 17: Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - 7:30 PM IST, Chennai
April 20: Delhi Capitals vs Mumbai Indians - 7:30 PM IST, Chennai
April 23: Punjab Kings vs Mumbai Indians - 7:30 PM IST, Chennai
April 29: Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals - 3:30 PM IST, Delhi
May 1: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings - 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
May 4: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Mumbai Indians - 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
May 8: Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians - 7:30 PM IST, Delhi
May 10: Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders - 7:30 PM IST, Bangalore
May 13: Mumbai Indians vs Punjab Kings - 3:30 PM IST, Bangalore
May 16: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians - 7:30 PM IST, Bangalore
May 20: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Mumbai Indians - 7:30 PM IST, Kolkata
May 23: Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Capitals - 3:30 PM IST, Kolkata