A call to arms about not pressing the panic button. Sachin Tendulkar
joining the team huddle for a motivational speech. Shuffling the batting order. Trying out different bowling combinations. Playing just two overseas players
. Mumbai Indians have tried whatever they could. And yet, they have lost all their six matches in IPL 2022, making the five-time champions the worst-performing team in the competition. And the defeat against Lucknow Super Giants
on Saturday has virtually booted them out of the playoffs' race.
, however, isn't ready to throw in the towel. "It's not end of the world. We have come back before. We will try and come back again," he said after the match on Star Sports
. Rohit, whose bat has barely made a murmur despite the 2022 season nearing the halfway stage, also owned up to his shortcomings, something he said had played a big role in Mumbai's tottering campaign.
In six matches, Rohit has scored 114 runs at an average of 19 and a strike rate of 129. In powerplays, the strike rate is 132.05; he has managed a 40 [in Mumbai's first match] and couple of 25-plus scores, but his challenge has been in converting the starts.
"If I know it, probably I will do it," Rohit said when asked if he had figured out why he had been failing repeatedly. "Honestly, I am trying to prepare myself in a way that I prepare for every game. There is nothing different there. It's just not coming off. I take the full responsibly of not putting the team in that situation what they expect from me.
"Honestly, I do understand the responsibility that I have as an individual, and as a player as well, which is something I have failed to do in the six games. But, again, I back myself to go out there and enjoy my game and do what I have been doing all these years. It is important to not completely look down. It is important to keep looking forward."
It's not just Rohit. Ishan Kishan
has fizzled out after 81* in 48 balls and 54 in 43 in the first two games. The pressure of being the most expensive buy of the auction can't be ignored, but bowlers have been smart against left-hander. He likes to hit in the arc between mid-on and behind square on the leg side, but bowlers have stuck to wide-of-off-stump lines. On Sunday, he tried to flick a slower ball from Marcus Stoinis, but played on.
"Every game we play is an opportunity, so we try and find a combination which is best suited for that particular position and the particular conditions. Unless you win games you can't really keep playing the same XI"
While Suryakumar Yadav
has been Mumbai's best batter, he has mostly had to do it on his own in the middle overs. The young duo of Tilak Varma
and Dewald Brevis
have shown character, composure and derring-do, but as Rohit pointed out, Mumbai have not had a top-order batter playing deep into the innings. He cited the example of Super Giants captain KL Rahul, whose century was the backbone of his team's 199 for 4 on Saturday. "KL batted brilliantly, batted till the end. And that is something that is missing [for Mumbai]. We want one of our top four to bat as long as possible, which is not happening."
While the target of 200 was chaseable on a ground - Brabourne Stadium - with small boundaries, Rohit felt Mumbai were hampered by a lack of big partnerships. They've had seven 50-plus stands - the joint-highest so far this season - but not enough that have gone on to be match-winning.
On Saturday, Rahul and Quinton de Kock helped Super Giants raise 57 in the powerplay, a phase where Mumbai used six bowlers - an unprecedented move for them. Barring Jasprit Bumrah
, who has delivered cutting-edge spells in the last two matches, the rest of Mumbai's bowlers have struggled to cope.
The bowling plans, too, have been confusing. Against Super Giants, Tilak Varma bowled the opening over, followed by Jaydev Unadkat
and M Ashwin
, before Bumrah was introduced. Why not open the bowling with Bumrah - as Sunil Gavaskar and other pundits asked on the broadcast - especially against Rahul, who had been out first ball in Super Giants' last match?
"There is no particular reason to it," Rohit said. "It's just whatever we feel as a team we need to do we try and do that. We try and put team before the individual. And seeing their [Super Giants'] batting line-up, they bat quite deep, so it is important to hold your key bowlers towards the backend.
"We always try and keep Bumrah for the back end. Yeah, it didn't seem to work out. He bowled pretty well, but the others need to pull their socks up a little bit."
Rohit, who has called on 16 players so far this season, says he will keep doing whatever it takes to win. "Every game we play is an opportunity, so we try and find a combination which is best suited for that particular position and the particular conditions," he said. "Unless you win games you can't really keep playing the same XI. We have lost six games now, so obviously we are trying to understand what probably will be the right combination. I mean, when you lose games, it is very easy to point out that the changes are being made, but we try and go with right combination."