Mumbai Indians IPL 2014 preview

Niggles for Mumbai amid big-name hype

The Preview by Rachna Shetty

April 12, 2014

Comments: 54 | Text size: A | A
Agarkar: Mumbai Indians squad might be lacking depth

Poll

What position will Mumbai finish at this season?
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Probable first XI

1 Michael Hussey, 2 Aditya Tare, 3 Rohit Sharma, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 CM Gautam (wk)/Jalaj Saxena, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Corey Anderson, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Zaheer Khan, 10 Lasith Malinga 11 Pragyan Ojha
Full squad

2013 finish

Champions. Won their maiden IPL title after reaching their second final.

Big picture

Mumbai Indians were one of three IPL teams to retain the maximum number of players before the auction, but are missing two big names that contributed heavily to the title win last season - Dinesh Karthik and Mitchell Johnson.

In spite of these absences, they still have a formidable line-up of foreign batsmen, especially with the addition of Michael Hussey at the top of the order and the all-round skills of Corey Anderson. The fitness of their two explosive allrounders, Anderson and Kieron Pollard, will be a concern for the team as both will come into the tournament with relatively little or no match practice. Pollard scored a first-class hundred recently, but he has played only two matches since the Champions League last October. Mumbai will be wary of how the knee injury may have impacted his ability in the field.

Their overseas players fit snugly into their roles, leaving two areas of concern for Mumbai - the wicketkeeper's slot and the spin-bowling department. Their relatively weak line-up of Indian batsmen may result in CM Gautam getting the gloves with Aditya Tare included as a full-time batsman. If Tare (or Ambati Rayudu) doubles up with the gloves, Mumbai could give allrounder Jalaj Saxena a look-in, re-inforcing their spin attack of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha on the slower UAE tracks.

Big players

For the first time in the IPL, Michael Hussey will take the field in colours other than the bright yellow of Chennai Super Kings. He was the leading run-getter in IPL 2013 and has struck three fifties in this year's Big Bash League. His selection is key for Mumbai, who are missing some heft at the top of the order without Sachin Tendulkar and Dwayne Smith. Hussey's style of play will also allow Mumbai's line-up of stroke players to bat around him.

In one of the only two matches he played in the IPL last year, in the middle of a period outside the India team, Zaheer Khan took 4 for 17 against Chennai Super Kings. This season, things are different for Zaheer as he is fitter but his performances recently seem to have hit a plateau. Mumbai will be hoping he can hit a good run, especially as he will be looked at to lead the attack when Lasith Malinga is called up for national day in May.

Bargain buy

For a price of Rs 50 lakhs, Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood is a bargain, although Mumbai managed a good deal on the in-demand Corey Anderson as well. Hazlewood has been in good form over the last few months and his performances include a four-wicket haul against England in January and a six-for that helped New South Wales clinch the Sheffield Shield last month.

Availability

Mumbai will have a selection headache in May when Malinga would be called up for national duty on Sri Lanka's tour to England. The two ODIs against Ireland are on May 6 and 8, while the limited-overs series against England starts on May 20. Mumbai's back-up options are Hazlewood, South Africa's Marchant de Lange and West Indian Krishmar Santokie, who proved effective with the new ball in the recent World T20.

Odds

11/2 - third favourites behind Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Odds provided by Bet365

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 12:07 GMT)

Mumbai looks to be a greater side with many stars. With Sachin as a mentor I think the tempo of the team will be very high and they will play aggressive cricket. The worry will be mainly about the local talent. We are not sure about how many matches Zaks will play. Pragyan & Bhajji will most likely be the mainstay bowlers. The questionable fact is the depth of their batting. Different conditions will really test the skills and temperament of Mumbai Indians. It will also depend on how many Million dollars shots Rohit will refrain from playing. They will dearly miss the presence of Smith who played a vital role in winning the championship with flamboyount innings at will. Their fielding is superb. But KKR on their day are ruthless demolishing side.

Posted by   on (April 16, 2014, 7:33 GMT)

mumbai can include sushanth marathe in their playing eleven. mumbai also has santokie to replace malinga in few matches.mike hussey will play the anchor role and others should just bat around him. mumbai is a better balanced side than any other team. i feel sushanth marathe should be given a chance at no 3 atleast for five consecutive matches. if he comes gud then the middle order problem is over.who else can accelerate better than the trio of pollard, anderson and harbhajan.and bowling has variety with malinga,zaheer,harbhajan,ojha,anderson and pollard.so guys dont under rate mumbai atleast for one reason that the master wil be their mentor............we r waiting............

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

Many people thinking MI made mistake not retaining Johnson & Maxwell. But I think its only MI has shown maximum matureness while selecting the squade. And I am in strong opinon, CSK made big big mistake not retaining great player Hussey. Hussey is marvelous player in any format. He has huge temparament on groung. Just cant understand why CSK left Hussey. MI has done very right thing picking Hussey immediately. CSK may suffer by their decision. Secondly MI rightely picked Anderson, as we have seen Andersons agression in last few matches. Plus Anderson is all rounder and very handy bowler. Overall MI is loking well balaced team. This time Rohit will definately open the innings with Hussey. Malinga, Zahir Khan, Bhajji, Oza etc is very good bowling line up MI has. Rohit is improving as a great leader. After impessive international performance Rohit definately will be a different player to watch in this IPL. This time I thing Rohit & Virat will try to show their leadership tallent vs MSD.

Posted by   on (April 15, 2014, 6:28 GMT)

They have a fair chance of making it to the playoffs. Pollard has been more and more consistent over the years and Corey Anderson is not all that inconsistent like pollard was in his first season plus he is a much better bowler than some people think .Has a knack of getting wickets . People underestimating Zaheer Khan too as he can be a great bowler in the death. Its extremely sad that people do not realize this.Our bowling is great if Zak shows good form and if Bhajji Ojha and Malinga continue great form of last year.I am hoping that M.Hussey also carries some good form from last year.Rohit Sharma is a god at ipl will score runs most probably. Rayadu is the big concern for me as over the seasons his performance has dipped but can also provide solid knocks.Jalaj will pip goutham as Tare also keeps and Jalaj provides a good spin option ..I think Corey will come at No.5. The main problem with Harbhajan maybe that he has not bowled at all in Syed Mushtaq Ali .Overall its a good team.

Posted by srinideva on (April 15, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

I would be surprised if they reach top 4 in this season. There is no power in this batting line up. Pollard and Anderson are typical players. they Will have tough time in this year as there top order looks weak.

Posted by Bruisers on (April 14, 2014, 15:34 GMT)

A good looking team, but they lack bench strength in the batting department. That No.5 position and Pollard's fitness add to the concern. They should have picked a couple of young Indian batsmen.

Posted by Speng on (April 14, 2014, 14:11 GMT)

If you only mention Santokie parenthetically in the last paragraph you are making a mistake for four overs he can be magic as we saw in the World T20.

Posted by 10000000 on (April 14, 2014, 11:51 GMT)

good side will paly finals this year again.

Posted by CricketMaan on (April 14, 2014, 9:00 GMT)

Teams will have BIG dilema to spice up thier batting or bowling with overseas players. Lack of good strong Indian pace bowlers means you have to have 1 overseas pace bowling which could be a determent to plans as most teams would rather prefer strong overseas batsmen. For instance RCB would rather have 4 overseas batsman rather than having Starc in the bowling and CSK would prefer Mac over Hilfy in the XI. Some problems remain in IPL 7 unless India finds good strong pace bolwers, this will continue. I'm looking forward to see how a Rish Dhawan will stand up or if Irfan will show that he still has it in him. That is where India too is intrested. A good show from Gauti or Ishant might confuse selectors but i dobut both are in plans for 2015 WC although Ishant still has trust from Dhoni.

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