Thursday, March 11, 2010
Mumbai Indians Preview
The sixth team I would look at would be the Mumbai Indians. Mumbai Indians have been disappointing in both 08 and 09 as they couldn't make it even to the semifinals in either 08 or 09.
Now let us look at the Indian players in the side.
Of course the first name that can come to anyone's mind would be Tendulkar. He doesn't play the T/20 format for India, but his wealth of experience can come in very handy for the team. I won't like to analyse too much about his batting as a lot has been written about his batting. The simple fact is, he is a great batsman and can be a asset to any side. It is another chance for him to prove that he isn't a bad captain. If anything, there have been question marks over him being a good captain, but this year it is a good chance for him to prove his doubters wrong. Among other players, Dhawan has been a consistent run-getter in domestic cricket and they would look up-to him to do well. Rayudu has already been spoken of highly by many experts. He played for a brief period in the ICL, but has made a comeback into domestic cricket and has been in good form. Rahane has been another consistent run-getter for the Mumbai team in domestic cricket and may have to open the batting as Jayasuirya is out of form.
As far as the all-rounders are concerned, Nayar has played for the Mumbai Indians in both 08 and 09 and has done ok as a player. He may not be the most talented cricketer going around, but his ability to get those big hits and bowl useful medium pace can come in handy. He is also a fine fielder. R.Satish is another all-rounder in the side and did well in the ICL, but it remains to be seen how can he perform in the IPL.
Among the bowlers, I don't see much doubt about Zaheer being a class bowler, as he can bowl well with the new ball and and has the ability to mix his pace in the end overs. He can also get reverse swing. Harbajan too is in the side and has got enough experience to bowl well in the middle overs with his restrictive off spin and can even use the long handle well as a batsman. Kulkarni has already played for India, but the medium pacer from Mumbai seems to be on a downhill path as 2009/10 wasn't a great season for him in domestic cricket. He reportedly had problems with bowling no balls.
Mumbai also have a slew of unknown players like Murtaza Ali, Shalauddin, Tiwary, Malhotra, Madan and co. Tiwary seems to have already made a impression in domestic cricket as a batsman and looking at his records it can be said that Shalauddin is a experienced medium pacer who can also bat a bit.
Yes, the Mumbai Indians have stars like Tendulkar, Zaheer, Harbie yet, they seem to lack the bench strength and that may create problems especially, if few of their main players get injured.
MI still have Jayasuriya, but he seems to be past his best. All those swashbuckling shots through the off side seems to be a thing of the past, but one can never rule out a player as good as Jaya and may still come good. His bowling as well isn't as effective as it used to be. Dumminy too is out of form and surprisingly he is struggling against off spinners bowling from around the wicket. Yes, he does jump in the air and can be in trouble against the short pitch stuff, but I'm surprised by his struggles against spin as he can play late and with soft hands, but when a batsman starts using his pad instead of the bat then it can be said that he lacks confidence. He has been in good form in T/20 cricket as he did well in the CL and I expect him to play for MI in most of the matches.
Among the all-rounders, Pollard is a exciting prospect as he can hit it a long way. He can play cricketing shots and still get those big hits. I do believe he is better than just a slogger as he can even rotate the strike well. He can be very good for MI and if he believes that cricket is not just about hitting huge sixes he can be a fine cricketer for the Caribbean team. He can also bowl a bit of medium pace. Bravo can always be so dangerous in T/20. As a bowler he can bowl slower deliveries by using different grips and really flummox the best of batsmen. He is also a fine batsman as he is a wristy player and can annoy the best of bowlers and captains by playing late to find the gaps, but at present he is bogged down by injuries and maybe a bit rusty. I know that MI also have McLeran and Napier, but they are more of hit or miss players, but if their main players fail, MI may give them a chance. IMO of the two, Napier is a better T/20 bowler. It can be seen by the fact only Arafat of Pakistan has taken more wickets in T/20 than Napier. Napier has 88 wickets in the T/20 format.
As far as the bowlers are concerned, Fernando can be a fine bowler in the T/20 format as he hits the bat hard, has a well disguised slower delivery and can bowl the surprise bouncer, but he can be very inconsistent and has a habit of bowling no balls. Yes, he has had his moments like his 4 for 18 couple of years ago in the IPL, but IMO is too inconsistent and is behind Malinga and Zaheer in the pecking order. As far as Malinga is concerned, what can I say? as with his unique round arm action he can even bowl six toe crushing yorkers in a over and that is amazing as believe me, it isn't that easy to have such good control with that sort of round arm action. He can occasionally lose his yorkers and the batsmen have taken advantage of the length deliverers and smashed him all over the ground, but more often than not he has been very good in the T/20 format as can be seen by his record in the IPL 09.
I still have faith in Duminy that he would come good in the T/20 format and unless needed I won't like to invest in hit or miss players like McLeran and Napier. Jayasuriya seems to be past his best, but if Rahane can't get runs at the opening slot, Jaya can still come into the equation.
If their stars fire, MI can be a force to reckon with, but their bench strength isn't that strong. One has to always remember the likes of Pollard and Bravo would miss a few matches as they are still playing a series against the Zimbabwe team. MI may have a decent chance of reaching the semifinals, but for that to happen they need their stars to fire.