MUMBAI: Mumbai Indians’ stunning no-show, which has seen them slide to five defeats in a row, their worst start in the IPL since 2014, has left fans stunned.
However, those who followed their confused, flawed strategy at the auction table a couple of months back would not be surprised that MI is lying at the bottom of the 10-team table with zero points.
All the mistakes that MI made in Bengaluru are coming back to haunt them. The biggest mistake, which has left their bowling attack toothless, was not retaining New Zealand pacer Trent Boult or going for him in the auction.
MI instead spent Rs 8 cr to buy the unavailable Jofra Archer. Incidentally, the Rajasthan Royals paid the same amount to buy Boult, and the left-arm pacer has not disappointed, taking seven wickets in four games @ 16.57.
Boult’s deadly partnership with Jasprit Bumrah -the pair took 52 wickets between them to power MI to their fifth title in 2020 -was what gave MI an edge. Though he’s a match-winner on his day, the franchise could have perhaps let go of Kieron Pollard, who has put together only 57 runs in five games @ 14. 25. It’s also debatable Ishan Kishan was worth the Rs 15. 25 cr splurged on him, when the more consistent Quinton de Kock, who did well for them earlier, could have been a cheaper option.
In Boult’s absence, the entire load of the pace department has fallen on Bumrah. All of his pace colleagues like Daniel Sams, Tymal Mills, Basil Thampi, and Jaydev Unadkat have been cannon fodder on these flat wickets.
MI also blundered when it came to spinners. While Murugan Ashwin hasn’t been too bad, Mumbai is badly missing leggie Rahul Chahar, who did so well for them for several years.
On Wednesday night, after MI went down by 12 runs to Punjab Kings, coach Mahela Jayawardene said, “We’ve built a bowling attack over a four or five-year period and after the big auction we were not able to retain all our options.”
Another big worry remains the poor form of their captain Rohit Sharma. Jayawardene revealed that even Rohit was “disappointed” after not being able to convert his starts. “If you look at the way he starts, the way he hits the ball, it’s brilliant. He’s getting good starts.”