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A Crackdown of the Mumbai Indians’ Bowling Attack

The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is just around the corner. Cricket fans from all over the world are gearing up for the mega event. Although the souvenir sales might have dropped due to the pandemic, the support for the teams clearly hasn’t. People are as crazy as always about this sporting delicacy. One such team with a massive fan following is the Mumbai Indians.

It has been one of the most successful teams in the history of the league, winning it 4 times. It is also currently the defending champion. The team is generally known for a good balance between its batting, bowling and all-round attack, but this year the balance looks in jeopardy. The reason behind this is the bowling attack.

Mumbai Indians won the VIVO IPL 2019 ( Image Courtesy : Twitter.com )

This is ironic because the bowling attack has been the team’s pillar of strength throughout its history. There have been a few new signings though. Trent Boult and James Pattinson are the new additions. Pattinson has been brought in to replace Malinga, as the veteran Lankan pacer won’t be available. Dhawal Kulkarni has also returned home after spending years at the Rajasthan Royals. Nathan Coulter Nile has also returned to the team after spending 7 years elsewhere.

However, the past skeleton of the bowling attack of Mumbai Indians has remained the same with Bumrah, the Pandya Brothers, Rahul Chahar and Pollard still in the team. But with so many bowling options, you would be wondering- Where does the problem lie? Let’s analyse this-

 

#1. Bumrah’s Poor Form

Bumrah has proven to India’s most reliable bowler in the recent years. However, he hasn’t found his form since injury and was not successful in India’s recent series versus Australia and New Zealand.

Jasprit Bumrah has been a key figure in the Mumbai Indians' bowling line-up
Bumrah has been a key figure in the Mumbai Indians’ bowling line-up ( Image Courtesy : Twitter.com )

He was only able to scalp one wicket against Australia and 6 wickets in the five matches that he played against New Zealand. Considering that he was one of the most reliable bowler for MI in the past, his poor form would definitely be a concern.

 

#2. A Shaky Second Indian Seamer

Dhawal Kulkarni has been an extremely expensive bowler in the past three years with an average economy of 9.41. His economy of 9.57 in IPL 2019 was one of his poorest performances. RR released him for good reasons, it seems. Mitchell McClenaghan did not get much play time in IPL 2019.

He is also not a regular for the New Zealand national team, but has performed well in the past for MI. With Trent Boult as the new addition and Shane Bond as the bowling coach, we might get to see the Kiwi bowling partnership in action. Apart from that, James Pattinson has never played in the IPL. So, what he brings to the table, is uncertain. Being the replacement for Malinga, he has big shoes to fill.

 

#3. The Spin Department

Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar and Jayant Yadav are the three spin options that the Indians have. Krunal Pandya will get a sure spot in the team with excellent track record of wickets and an equally amazing average economy of 7.16.

Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar will be the key spin options in Dream11 IPL 2020 ( Image Courtesy : Cricket Country Twitter )

His batting has also been brilliant with an average strike rate of 146 and an average of over 26. Rahul Chahar has also proved to be an extremely economical and wicket taking bowler.

 

#4. The Right Overseas-Indian Player Balance

MI has too many overseas bowling options as compared to domestic talent. However, the overseas player spots are few. With the likes of Chris Lynn and Quinton De Kock required to bolster the batting attack and with Keiron Pollard being the regular on the team, only one or two spots would be left for overseas bowlers.

This essentially means that only a couple of players from the likes of Trent Boult, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter Nile and Mitchell McClenaghan will get the bowling spot. The most likely options will be the inclusion of Boult and Coulter Nile (all-rounder), but the inclusion possibility of McClenaghan cannot be discarded. Also, it would be interesting to see whether Sherfane Rutherford gets to play.

 

Mumbai Indians has some pretty good names in their bowling attack. But striking the balance between form, nationality and past performance will be the key in formation of a successful team. As the opening face-off against CSK gets closer, the picture will get clearer. Until then, stay tuned.

 

Also read : The Deja Vu of France and Croatia

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