Mumbai Indians' overseas gambit
Most IPL franchises would love to play more than four foreign players; so rich is some of the talent sitting on the bench. Not Mumbai Indians, perhaps – for their game against Kings XI Punjab at Wankhede Stadium, they included only three foreign players in their XI: James Franklin, Kieron Pollard and Thisara Perera.
They are the first team to field less than the maximum of four overseas players in the 2012 season.
Lasith Malinga was not fit, otherwise he is an automatic selection, but the other players warming the bench were Aiden Blizzard, Herschelle Gibbs, Davy Jacobs, Richard Levi, Clint McKay and Robin Peterson. And of that lot Gibbs, Levi and Peterson were bought ahead of the 2012 season. Mitchell Johnson isn’t in India yet, he will join the squad on April 24.
Do Mumbai Indians actually have Indian players that are good enough to keep out their international signings? Or did the franchise’s think-tank mess up in terms of the balance of overseas players?
Mumbai Indians went on to lose to Kings XI by six wickets. Mumbai Indians scored 164 for 4, and Kings XI achieved the target with three balls to spare.
During the Champions League T20 in 2011, Mumbai Indians created a stir by getting an allowance to field five overseas players because they did not have enough fit Indian players. They seem to have swung to the other extreme during this IPL.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo