Mumbai Indians’ (MI) Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan revealed that injury concerns to key players and a need to deepen the strength of their bowling unit were the reasons for their trading choices. The defending champions MI retained 18 players from their 2019 squad while releasing 12.
While Kiwi seamer Trent Boult, West Indian Sherfane Rutherford and Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni were traded-in, the injured Jason Behrendoff and others were released ahead of the player auctions for 2020 in December.
"We have had some challenges in terms of injuries. Hardik Pandya to start with has had back surgery. (Jasprit) Bumrah has been out of action with back issues and Jason Berehndoff also has had back surgery. That was one of the concerns and the trades were a reflection of exactly what was the planning for the upcoming season. We felt that we will need some kind of strength around the bowling department and hence the trades with Delhi (Capitals) and RR (Rajasthan Royals)," Zaheer said in a video message, reported IANS.
With Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, and Lasith Malinga, MI has had a strong and experienced core for years. Zaheer further stressed the franchise’s focus on spotting and fielding domestic talent. MI has the option of filling up slots for five domestic and two foreign players when the auction in Kolkata comes around.
"The core of the team is very stable and experienced, so this year is going to be a different one. In terms of domestic talent as well, it has been a trend with MI that we have been spotting and going with domestic talent. But this is going to be the end of the cycle as well,” he said,
"The IPL dynamics in terms of big auctions work differently, so there is going to be some more thinking in terms of what direction we should be going in, but it’s pretty premature at this stage. The release list is out, so we will have to keep an eye on which are the players released from other teams and what are the options, so yes that process should start very soon now," Zaheer added.