Champions League 2013 September 19, 2013

Will Malinga's absence impact Mumbai?

37

Overview
Mumbai Indians had a Champions League title to their credit even before winning an IPL trophy. A team regularly tagged as pre-tournament favourites finally lived up to their billing when they beat the IPL's most successful team, Chennai Super Kings, in the final of IPL 2013. Mumbai were part of the Champions League last season as well, but struggled in South African conditions, failing to win any of their three completed games. Now with the tournament back in India, they will be more of a threat.

It will be an emotional moment, not just for Mumbai, but for cricket fans as Sachin Tendulkar signs off from mainstream limited-overs cricket upon the conclusion of this tournament. He had an ordinary IPL by his standards but at least got to be part of a winning IPL side. Getting there, Mumbai had to make some hard decisions, including dropping the underperforming Ricky Ponting as captain and batsman. Rohit Sharma not only led the side well, he also finished as the leading run-scorer for his side.

Mumbai suffered a blow in the lead up to this edition with the withdrawal of Lasith Malinga, one of their most prized overseas players, due to personal commitments. Their strength remains in their batting, with Dinesh Karthik and Ambati Rayudu - part of India's recent ODI squad in Zimbabwe - their key home players apart from Rohit. In this edition, Mumbai are in Group A with Rajasthan Royals, Perth Scorchers, Lions and Otago.

Key players
In Malinga's absence, the credence on Harbhajan Singh will increase. Harbhajan looked a different bowler in IPL 2013, flighting the ball a lot more, bowling quick topspinners. He finished with 24 wickets at a miserly economy of 6.51. Harbhajan, however, was not given a lifeline by the selectors, at least in the India A one-day squad featuring in the ongoing series against West Indies A. The Champions League is another chance for him to make a comeback, with the home season fast approaching.

Weakness
Malinga has carried the seam attack for long, but Mumbai will have to cope without him in this edition. Mitchell Johnson bowled with fire and will be expected to fill Malinga's role. Besides Johnson, they don't have too many seam options. Abu Nechim and Rishi Dhawan are the only Indian seamers, while Nathan Coulter-Nile has limited international experience. The question, though, is whether they can afford to play two international seamers in the line-up, with the cap on foreign players at four.

Surprise package
The hyped Tendulkar-Ponting combine flopped at the top, causing the management to leave out Ponting. Dwayne Smith replaced him as opener and the West Indian made the position his own. In 13 games he scored 418 runs. Often guilty of throwing his wicket away after getting a start, Smith batted more responsibly and with greater consistency, scoring four fifties. His 62 in the second qualifier helped Mumbai progress to the final.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jimbond on September 20, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    Mumbai should take a risk with Nathan Coulter-Nile as he is pretty incisive and could be a handful. It also makes sense to go in with someone like Rishi Dhawan who could also contribute with is batting. Johnson's form is irrelevant. He may end up performing well when he is least expected to do so. On the given day, even the spent force Harbajan may perform well. Mumbai struggle however to get the right four foreign players. They may probable go into it with Pollard and Dwayne Smith along with Coulter Nile and Johnson. On some pitches, Glenn Maxwell may come into the picture.

  • suve on September 19, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Yes, Mumbai will Miss Lasith Malinga without a doubt. His 4 overs in the IPL final was just outstanding as an example. Getting Hussey and Raina out in his 1st over, changed the result completely. I really doubt if Mitch Johnson can carry the Mumbai pace attack forward, he is so inconsistent. Mitch's form was poor vs England in the ODI's last week. He wasn't as effective as he was in the last IPL, mainly due to injuries I think. He had the ability to bowl in the 150kph's, but I don't think he pushes himself due to getting injured.

  • VVSR92 on September 19, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    Malinga will be missed by mumbai. Coulter-nile is going to slot in his place though he may not fill malingas void.He is pretty quick bowler who can create trouble for batsmen and especially due to inexperienced Indian talent in side with abscence of kukarni or a firing and fit munaf MI should have to go with 2 international seamers supported by pollard and dhawan to fill 5th bowlers quota.Mi cant slot in maxwell as they have found their best opening pair in tare(sachin will play instaed) & smith..and a settled middle order upto 6 with swashbuckling pollard,leaving out next 5 to be bowlers including 2 quality spinners in pragyan ojha and singh.Looks a good side!

  • on September 21, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    i miss u malinga

  • on September 21, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Probaby If you would have asked this question at the beginning of the Ipl this year.. then the question would be certainly yes ... But now after the Ipl when Mumbai has got a new bowler( Mitchell Johnson) who is winning matches for them & considering malinga's current form, it won't affect them much ... But still there will be a loss as the word malinga is itself enough to scare the batsmen..

  • Prashant.akash on September 20, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    My Playing Should be:- sachin, smith, kartik, sharma, rayudu, pollard, maxwell, harbhajan, ojha, johnson, nechim/ dhwal kulkarni

  • on September 20, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    'The question, though, is whether they can afford to play two international seamers in the line-up, with the cap on foreign players at four.'

    Really? Did they not do it throughout this season?

  • on September 20, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    One little questionmark is arising here for MI thin tank about Sachin. In IPL Rohit played in middle order and MI opened with Sachin & Smith. Now we all now Rohit has emerged himself as a promising opening batsman since CT. Scoring runs consistentely at no 1 position. So MI now think about there opening combination. As far as MI team advantage concerns no doubt Rohit should open. But then who will shift to middle order ? Smith is too prooved nice opening batsman for MI in IPL as he scores with fast strike rate. If we think about Sachin for middle order, practically it will be disastrous for MI as now Sachin cant go for huge sixes which needs to be at that position. In short if MI wants Sachin in playing 11 Sachin has to be at opening position, then Smith has to sacrifise his position which again will not be going in favour of MI. MI and Rohit should think about it. I think with current situation Rohit will prefer middle order to make things easy. All the best MI & Rohit.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on September 20, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @Raj Laxman, has mentioned that Malinga is an ordinary bowler if he cannot bowl yorkers and slower bowls. Yes everybody agrees. That is why he is a great bowler He mastered yorker and slower delivery or bouncer, so that he can deceive the batsman. That is the difference between a great bowler and an ordinary bowler. Otherwise we need to get ICC to bring a rule to make "No ball" yorkers, slower deliveries or bumpers.

  • on September 20, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Mumbai will miss malinga for sure & its upto mtchell johnson 2 lead the pack. As for sachin, it would be hard for him 2 make it to the playing eleven with smith & tare gelling so well. But as u know when it comes to sachin, he reigns supreme & nobody dare drop him lest he's injured.i think absence of malinga may open up oppurtunity for maxwell/counternile. i would still bench ponting & sachin. As for indian seamers dhawal kulkarni/dhawan stand a chance to play in the first eleven.

  • jimbond on September 20, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    Mumbai should take a risk with Nathan Coulter-Nile as he is pretty incisive and could be a handful. It also makes sense to go in with someone like Rishi Dhawan who could also contribute with is batting. Johnson's form is irrelevant. He may end up performing well when he is least expected to do so. On the given day, even the spent force Harbajan may perform well. Mumbai struggle however to get the right four foreign players. They may probable go into it with Pollard and Dwayne Smith along with Coulter Nile and Johnson. On some pitches, Glenn Maxwell may come into the picture.

  • suve on September 19, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Yes, Mumbai will Miss Lasith Malinga without a doubt. His 4 overs in the IPL final was just outstanding as an example. Getting Hussey and Raina out in his 1st over, changed the result completely. I really doubt if Mitch Johnson can carry the Mumbai pace attack forward, he is so inconsistent. Mitch's form was poor vs England in the ODI's last week. He wasn't as effective as he was in the last IPL, mainly due to injuries I think. He had the ability to bowl in the 150kph's, but I don't think he pushes himself due to getting injured.

  • VVSR92 on September 19, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    Malinga will be missed by mumbai. Coulter-nile is going to slot in his place though he may not fill malingas void.He is pretty quick bowler who can create trouble for batsmen and especially due to inexperienced Indian talent in side with abscence of kukarni or a firing and fit munaf MI should have to go with 2 international seamers supported by pollard and dhawan to fill 5th bowlers quota.Mi cant slot in maxwell as they have found their best opening pair in tare(sachin will play instaed) & smith..and a settled middle order upto 6 with swashbuckling pollard,leaving out next 5 to be bowlers including 2 quality spinners in pragyan ojha and singh.Looks a good side!

  • on September 21, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    i miss u malinga

  • on September 21, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Probaby If you would have asked this question at the beginning of the Ipl this year.. then the question would be certainly yes ... But now after the Ipl when Mumbai has got a new bowler( Mitchell Johnson) who is winning matches for them & considering malinga's current form, it won't affect them much ... But still there will be a loss as the word malinga is itself enough to scare the batsmen..

  • Prashant.akash on September 20, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    My Playing Should be:- sachin, smith, kartik, sharma, rayudu, pollard, maxwell, harbhajan, ojha, johnson, nechim/ dhwal kulkarni

  • on September 20, 2013, 13:44 GMT

    'The question, though, is whether they can afford to play two international seamers in the line-up, with the cap on foreign players at four.'

    Really? Did they not do it throughout this season?

  • on September 20, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    One little questionmark is arising here for MI thin tank about Sachin. In IPL Rohit played in middle order and MI opened with Sachin & Smith. Now we all now Rohit has emerged himself as a promising opening batsman since CT. Scoring runs consistentely at no 1 position. So MI now think about there opening combination. As far as MI team advantage concerns no doubt Rohit should open. But then who will shift to middle order ? Smith is too prooved nice opening batsman for MI in IPL as he scores with fast strike rate. If we think about Sachin for middle order, practically it will be disastrous for MI as now Sachin cant go for huge sixes which needs to be at that position. In short if MI wants Sachin in playing 11 Sachin has to be at opening position, then Smith has to sacrifise his position which again will not be going in favour of MI. MI and Rohit should think about it. I think with current situation Rohit will prefer middle order to make things easy. All the best MI & Rohit.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on September 20, 2013, 9:53 GMT

    @Raj Laxman, has mentioned that Malinga is an ordinary bowler if he cannot bowl yorkers and slower bowls. Yes everybody agrees. That is why he is a great bowler He mastered yorker and slower delivery or bouncer, so that he can deceive the batsman. That is the difference between a great bowler and an ordinary bowler. Otherwise we need to get ICC to bring a rule to make "No ball" yorkers, slower deliveries or bumpers.

  • on September 20, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Mumbai will miss malinga for sure & its upto mtchell johnson 2 lead the pack. As for sachin, it would be hard for him 2 make it to the playing eleven with smith & tare gelling so well. But as u know when it comes to sachin, he reigns supreme & nobody dare drop him lest he's injured.i think absence of malinga may open up oppurtunity for maxwell/counternile. i would still bench ponting & sachin. As for indian seamers dhawal kulkarni/dhawan stand a chance to play in the first eleven.

  • GRVJPR on September 20, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    No it will not affect. In fact it will boost their chances in the tournament, Also a young bowler with good traditional action will be seen on TV which is good for youngsters than watching a sri lankan bowler with unethical action.

  • Naresh28 on September 20, 2013, 9:14 GMT

    Just wondering what is going on between Sri Lankan internationals players and their franchise - Malinga and Sangakara not playing?

  • Raveey_ on September 20, 2013, 8:39 GMT

    "Abu Nechim and Rishi Dhawan are the only Indian seamers"..Dhawal kulkarni is a better bowler than rishi or abu ..why is he not mentioned in this article ? is he unfit ?

  • AniketKanade on September 20, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    No doubt Malinga would be sourly missed. But this gives MI an opportunity to try another exciting prospect of Coulter-Nile. Could this be a blessing in disguise? MI could try Rohit as an opener and playing Sachin in middle-order (who will basically be the man of crisis and may not even come to bat if the sailing is smooth). Also playing Abu Nechim instead of Rishi Dhawan should strengthen fifth bowler option - Pollard leaks far too many runs and Dhawan is only part-time bowler. Smith, Rohit, DK, Rayudu/Sachin, Pollard/Sachin, Sachin, Bhajji, Mitch Johnson, Coulter-Nile, Ojha, Nechim

  • on September 20, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Mumbai Indians without Mallinga will be like a Lion who is ill for the past 10 yrs

  • Falew on September 20, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    Malinga+Johnson,Killing yorkers+Jaw crushing heavy balls,It's gonna be big loss for MI,Because MI's last year plan was they use Johnson as a new ball bowler and they use Malinga as a death bowler,But without Malinga they have to use Johnson as a both new bowler and death bowler,With 4 over restrictions it's gonna be big challenge for MI,Anyway good luck MI,Wish you Sachin too, :) From Srilanka :)

  • on September 20, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Poor decision from MI not to pick Ricky Ponting... Yes he is not in his best form and T20 is not his game but his presence in the dressing room is exemplary... he is the most successful captain in the history and he knows what it takes to bring the best from everybody and he did the same for MI...every young player was praising him (dinesh Kartik, Raydu to name a few)...Above all he clearly said that he wil retire from all forms in October so MI shd have at least shown some respect to the great man and include him in the squad... with all due respect to Counter Nile but he will not play any match

  • on September 20, 2013, 5:10 GMT

    MI are favourites but recently pollard is in terrible form and with out him i dont think MI will lift the cup

  • Cobra0077 on September 20, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    Of course anyone being allowed to deliver a ball from below the shoulder level and a sidearm baseball swing cannot be replaced by anyone who does other than that. If MI loses badly this will be the case.

  • INDSlider on September 20, 2013, 4:12 GMT

    I don't think Mumbai would be up for the challenge without malinga. He was the key for the success of Mumbai in IPL. Without Malinga, no Mumbai. Their batsmen like Sachin are mediocore in T20 cricket.

  • on September 20, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    MI batting is v strong der is no doubt but malinga is a v big asset fo them he takes imp wickets, on top of dat he is v economical MI will miss him fo sure so d chances of MI r reduced to qualify fo semis. .I predict Chennai, titans, otago and rajasthan as top 4

  • TexanCricketer on September 19, 2013, 18:19 GMT

    I think Munaf patel is much better option then Abu Nacheem or Rishi Dhavan as MI seamers from India. I think he is recoving from injury and will not be available for CLT. I am sure he will be back after recovery and do well in our domestic cricket.

  • BRUTALANALYST on September 19, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    I won't be surprised at all if Mumbai buy Krishmar Santokie at the next auction, he has been the best fast bowler in the Carribean T20 2 years running and many compare or refer to him as a left armed Malinga firing in yorkers left right and center.

  • RAMKI2404 on September 19, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    This article is about is MI's gonna miss Malinga. My answer is "YES" 100% he is one of the best 20-20 and ODI bowler who can turn a match single handed. Infact MI is gonna loose this tournament miserably b/c of his absence.

  • Temuzin on September 19, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    @raghureddy45: Good joke mate. I laughed so hard in my office that others started looking at me. Ro"hit" the Nohit a future India captain was hilarious.

  • BigINDFan on September 19, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    Honestly it does not matter whether people agree Sachin is the best or not. He was key in bringing India from a also-ran team to world beaters. He could not do it alone as was the case with Ponting, Kallis etc. He needs support and he found those in Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and one and only MSD. Sachin will be missed for sure!

    Malinga will always be controversial for his bowling action. But it is not his action that makes him successful but his mindset and consistency. Look at Ajantha Mendis, he lacked consistency and nowhere in the international scene. Murali on the other hand is a notch above everyone for consistently delivering results. No matter what people say Murali was a notch above Warne even though it is not fair to compare the two. My reasoning is Warne played for a champion side, Murali tried hard like Sachin to make and keep his team a champion side.

  • BRUTALANALYST on September 19, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Dwayne Smith and Pollard were both fantastic for M.I last season scoring big runs in big games I really hope Sachin manages to contribute here for his farewell games. Johnson has been on fire lately and will be exciting to watch especially given he has more responsibility leading the attack in Malingas absence.

  • on September 19, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    @HTc-Android mate he got alot of his wickets because of his unorthodox bowling action which deceives the batsmen. And yes i agree Yorker is a very hard delivery to bowl . But for malinga his square arm action makes it easy for him to bowl the yorker trajectory compared to the other bowlers. I am not an Indian supporter but brother all i can say is that if it wasnt for his abnormal bowling action he would be just a ordinary Sri Lankan bowler. And there isnt anyone who have proved to be better than old veterans lee,wasim,waqar and mcgrath. These players are legends they have variety and are good thinkers not like malinga who depends on his yorkers and slow bouncy deliveries.And like i said its not always about yorkers, bowling is a mind game.

  • on September 19, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    Mumbai doesnt bother about it, they will play 5 overseas player. They control the boards too. so i wont surprised even if they win this CL too.

  • Htc-Android on September 19, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    Malinga is the highest wicket taker in the entire IPL and he won the champions league for MI. Defenetely he is going to be huge loss for MI. Some experts are saying he balls fluke yorkers. But he has taken many wickets from those yorkers. No body can take this many wickets from flukes. Have u ever seen any indian bowler bowling yorkers? Do they even know how to ball yorkers? Even after working with world class bowlers like Wasim, Waqar, lee, Steyn these indiian bowlers havent improved anything on their bowling.

  • johnathonjosephs on September 19, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    Mumbai did a really strange decision last IPL season by not giving Malinga the old ball. As a result, he was nowhere near as successful, until in the final when they gave him the new ball for the first time and he got Hussey and Raina out in his first over. Malinga is one of the most prized asset in T20 cricket. He is the bowling equivalent to Chris Gayle and of course he will be missed.

  • on September 19, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Not really Malinga is now predictable ! Without his fluke yorkers he would be nothing but even then only an inexperienced, or a player playing him for the first time could find him tough .

  • Sshawn on September 19, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    here is a prediction Chennai will fail to reach the finals.

  • on September 19, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    This tournament is about deciding who will play Chennai Superkings in the Final . They will get to the final because they always do ...

  • on September 19, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Coming CL will be special for all the cricket fans alround the world as Dravid n Sachin will quit limited ovrs cricket. Being a hardcore Sachin fan,wud like MI to go all d way.Tare should open with Sachin ..mawell coulternile johnson nd pollard will fill d foreigners slot..Tare Sachin Dinesh R Sharma K Pollard Raydu Coulternile Johnson Bhajji Ojha A Nechim is my playing eleven...Slinga Malinga vil be missed.

  • naman_cricket on September 19, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Yes they will miss him for sure!

  • kartcric on September 19, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    Mumbai are a very good all-round unit,but gut-feeling says that they might falter in the knockouts

  • kartcric on September 19, 2013, 14:16 GMT

    Mumbai are a very good all-round unit,but gut-feeling says that they might falter in the knockouts

  • naman_cricket on September 19, 2013, 14:50 GMT

    Yes they will miss him for sure!

  • on September 19, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Coming CL will be special for all the cricket fans alround the world as Dravid n Sachin will quit limited ovrs cricket. Being a hardcore Sachin fan,wud like MI to go all d way.Tare should open with Sachin ..mawell coulternile johnson nd pollard will fill d foreigners slot..Tare Sachin Dinesh R Sharma K Pollard Raydu Coulternile Johnson Bhajji Ojha A Nechim is my playing eleven...Slinga Malinga vil be missed.

  • on September 19, 2013, 15:01 GMT

    This tournament is about deciding who will play Chennai Superkings in the Final . They will get to the final because they always do ...

  • Sshawn on September 19, 2013, 15:33 GMT

    here is a prediction Chennai will fail to reach the finals.

  • on September 19, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Not really Malinga is now predictable ! Without his fluke yorkers he would be nothing but even then only an inexperienced, or a player playing him for the first time could find him tough .

  • johnathonjosephs on September 19, 2013, 16:04 GMT

    Mumbai did a really strange decision last IPL season by not giving Malinga the old ball. As a result, he was nowhere near as successful, until in the final when they gave him the new ball for the first time and he got Hussey and Raina out in his first over. Malinga is one of the most prized asset in T20 cricket. He is the bowling equivalent to Chris Gayle and of course he will be missed.

  • Htc-Android on September 19, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    Malinga is the highest wicket taker in the entire IPL and he won the champions league for MI. Defenetely he is going to be huge loss for MI. Some experts are saying he balls fluke yorkers. But he has taken many wickets from those yorkers. No body can take this many wickets from flukes. Have u ever seen any indian bowler bowling yorkers? Do they even know how to ball yorkers? Even after working with world class bowlers like Wasim, Waqar, lee, Steyn these indiian bowlers havent improved anything on their bowling.

  • on September 19, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    Mumbai doesnt bother about it, they will play 5 overseas player. They control the boards too. so i wont surprised even if they win this CL too.

  • on September 19, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    @HTc-Android mate he got alot of his wickets because of his unorthodox bowling action which deceives the batsmen. And yes i agree Yorker is a very hard delivery to bowl . But for malinga his square arm action makes it easy for him to bowl the yorker trajectory compared to the other bowlers. I am not an Indian supporter but brother all i can say is that if it wasnt for his abnormal bowling action he would be just a ordinary Sri Lankan bowler. And there isnt anyone who have proved to be better than old veterans lee,wasim,waqar and mcgrath. These players are legends they have variety and are good thinkers not like malinga who depends on his yorkers and slow bouncy deliveries.And like i said its not always about yorkers, bowling is a mind game.