Renowned Cricket Analyst Simon Hughes is of the opinion that Mumbai Indians’ formula to success is to keep a balance between youth and experience while having a deep foresight to scouting. Hughes believes that the salary cap ensures every team has a fair chance of winning the IPL.
With an enviable team purpose-built for T20 cricket and backroom staff that unites on a single-minded determination, Mumbai Indians have become the most successful team in the history of the league, with five titles in the last eight editions. The incredible dominance has made many believe that they are the most dominant side in the short history of the format and Hughes, a senior cricket analyst based out of London, believes that striking the balance between youth and experience was the key to MI’s success.
“They (MI) have obviously been very successful, but they don’t spend any more money than any other team. The way the IPL is structured, everybody has a chance of winning because they change the teams every two or three years. Obviously, every team has to have the enforced salary cap,” Hughes told The Indian Express in a video interaction.
“Maybe, the MI scouting… I talked to Rahul Dravid about this the other day and he said their scouting is very good. The players they have spotted, like the young (Jasprit) Bumrah and Hardik Pandya, have made a big difference to them while keeping a core of very experienced T20 players like Rohit Sharma. They have found the balance very successfully between some very experienced players and spotting some new young talent. But other teams could have easily done it (won the IPL), the league was so close,” Hughes said.
“That’s the essence of a successful league, that everybody has got a chance of winning. And I believe although Mumbai Indians have done extremely well, most of the other teams are as good.”
As a team, there is almost no weakness in the Mumbai Indians’ line-up, with every position having a specialist with another winning team sitting on the dug-out. So much so that they are not afraid of making changes to the side on the finals day to satiate the match-ups. Hughes feels that that all-round strength is the key to MI’s success.
“Their key was two things. They had five batsmen who had a strike rate of over 140… Kieron Pollard is amazing. It’s amazing how he keeps performing for all those years. But the other thing is bowling. Bumrah and (Trent) Boult, they went for it with early wickets. And James Pattinson as well, aggressive fast bowler. It’s important to be aggressive with your fast bowling, and aggressive with your bat.
“They had so many bowling options. They had a very good opening pair with the bat, very good opening pair with the ball, and then these guys down the order who score at 170-180. The Pandya brothers giving you the impetus at the end, at Nos. 6 and 7 is absolutely vital. I think other teams can learn from that and there’s no reason why they can’t catch up,” Hughes added.