Mumbai Indians emerged as the most successful team in the IPL's 10-year reel and moved clear of the chasing pack with a record third title. Mumbai had created a name for themselves through some amazing moves in the auction and the franchise may come up with some out-of-the-box thinking yet again.
When Mumbai Indians got the better of Rising Pune Supergiant by one run in a last-ball thriller in Hyderabad last year, there was a unique sense of euphoria at the end and the team stood out as the illuminating light of the tournament with three titles. Mumbai built a pool of support staff that could challenge any team even in today’s age and their scouting means they didn’t have to lose a big chunk from their purse to get good players on board. Very rarely, do they make any swanky, big-money signings, and who better to cite as an example than Hardik Pandya, who was signed for only 10 lakhs by the franchise. Or who would sign a Mitchell Johnson, who had already called an end to his international career, at the mid-way point of the last year’s campaign?
MI's team structure has always been a core group of players around whom others have been allowed to express themselves and make an impact. They have always played smart at the auction and that’s why they have quite a number of match-winners in their ranks. And that will be the only reason why this retention will be a difficult one for the franchise cause they have to let go some of the star players who have come to define the Mumbai Indians in their own way.
Who should they retain?
Although the Mumbaikar started his career with Deccan Chargers – mind you, he played a starring role in the Chargers' 2009 championship run – Rohit has now become pretty much an MI guy. The association is so strong that the Rohit-Mumbai partnership is almost as entrenched in the fans' minds as Kohli-Bangalore, Gambhir-Kolkata or Dhoni-Chennai. Not only has he become the face of the franchise, he has rendered some excellent selfless service for the team as well. His decision to not promote himself to the top despite doing that job for his country with aplomb spoke as much as the team's need to have a big name like him in the middle order, as it did of his selflessness. Again, he had a brilliant 2017, in which he achieved the unprecedented mark of three ODI double centuries and gave Virat Kohli a run for his money as the batting lynchpin of the side. He is an invaluable asset for the Ambani-group led franchise and they can only count their blessings for retaining him for 15 crores.
During last year’s IPL and his journey with the Indian team, the World No.1 T20I bowler further enhanced his credentials as one of the best bowlers in the death overs and was also effective in other roles - as a strike bowler in the power play, and a containing, plus a wicket-taking option in the middle overs. It is a no-brainer that Mumbai will keep their biggest scouting talent and will build a bowling unit around him. It might cost them 12.5 crores, but remember, Tymal Mills also went for 12.5 crores last year. Bumrah not only provides a spearhead option for the team, he knows the dynamics of the franchise more than anyone else.
Flashy, arrogant, and in-your-face. It may not have been the way Mumbai Indians play their game, but Hardik Pandya, despite all that, managed to carve a distinct niche for himself – through ferocious power hitting and the ability to chip in with wickets at crucial junctures of the game. He, as a player, divides opinions, but at the same time, he has a fan base of his own to pull crowds to the stadium. It will be wise on Mumbai's part to secure his services and think of the money – seven crores, ONLY.
The alternate opinion for RTM:
Mumbai broke the bank to get Krunal Pandya to sign on the dotted line, but given the dynamics, they might go for RTM instead of retaining him. Krunal was prolific for the franchise in the last two seasons and one of the match-winners for the team. This time, many franchises will be interested to have him in the team and that might spruce up his price. Mumbai will keep the card for Pandya senior. The second will be an out of place, but a fair one. Mitchell McClenaghan has been cited as an ultra-competitive, aggressive player and coupled with his impressive performances in the shortest version of the game, his selection is almost automatic. His ability to bowl cutters on the slower Indian surfaces played an important role in Mumbai’s brilliant run last season and until the point, he was ruled out from the mid-way mark of the season due to an injury, he was the highest wicket-taker for the franchise. His retirement from international cricket, to play just franchise T20 cricket, means that he will not have the same fatigue that many of his counterparts might suffer from.
How logical the policy is
Mumbai Indians' keenness to have all bases covered with like-for-like replacements has been well documented and their forward-thinking played an important role in them becoming the first IPL team to clinch three titles. Their most of the steps worked in their
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