The superlatives were not spared after Mumbai Indians clinched the Indian Premier League title in 2020. Rohit Sharma has led MI to five championships in the tournament, but arguably none as convincing as the one in 2020. After their customary defeat in the tournament opener against soon-to-be strugglers Chennai Super Kings, MI appeared to be the best side of the league phase for the majority of it (briefly threatened by the early season form of Delhi Capitals).
Once they got into playoff mode, they were head and shoulder above the remaining three teams and coasted to the title on the back of clinical all-round, tactically shrewd performances (remember Jayant Yadav in the final?).
So, indeed, ahead of the 2021 season, the Mumbai Indians are tipped to complete the hat-trick, a feat that has never been achieved in the IPL so far.
Read detailed preview for Mumbai Indians here.
Squad for IPL 2021
Players bought by MI at auction
|Nathan Coulter-Nile||Bowler||Rs 50000000|
|Adam Milne||Bowler||Rs 32000000|
|Piyush Chawla||Bowler||Rs 24000000|
|James Neesham||All-Rounder||Rs 5000000|
|Yudhvir Charak||All-Rounder||Rs 2000000|
|Marco Jansen||All-Rounder||Rs 2000000|
|Arjun Tendulkar||All-Rounder||Rs 2000000|
MI squad for IPL 2021
|Rohit Sharma||Jasprit Bumrah||Quinton de Kock||Hardik Pandya|
|Suryakumar Yadav||Jayant Yadav||Ishan Kishan||Krunal Pandya|
|Chris Lynn||Rahul Chahar||Aditya Tare||Kieron Pollard|
|Saurabh Tiwary||Trent Boult||Anukul Roy|
|Anmolpreet Singh||Dhawal Kulkarni||James Neesham|
|Mohsin Khan||Yudhvir Charak|
|Nathan Coulter-Nile||Arjun Tendulkar|
The Mumbai Indians went into the auction for 2021 with a clear mandate to improve their overseas fast bowling resources and add experience to the spin department. They stopped short of some big bids for pacers who went for big bucks but ended up re-signing Coulter-Nile while adding the Kiwi duo of Milne and Neesham. One of those three are likely to play in the XI regularly, dependent on their pre-season form. With the team playing nine matches in Chennai and Delhi, however, the franchise might be more dependent on the new arrival of Chawla and could have to step away from their tried-and-tested two overseas pacers plan.
Chawla did not exactly light up IPL 2020 but he is a wily customer and has great track record in the tournament. If anything, he will keep Rahul Chahar on his toes. In Jansen and junior Tendulkar, MI have two left-arm pace options that we could see at some point in the campaign later on, with the team finishing in Bengaluru and Kolkata for their last five matches.
The Mahela Jayawardene-led army of support staff will lead Mumbai Indians’ charge from behind the scenes once again. The franchise has been well-served by a consistent, shrewd think-tank and it was a revelation listening to the former Sri Lankan captain last season after their fifth title.
- Head coach: Mahela Jayawardene
- Director of Cricket Operations: Zaheer Khan
- Bowling coach: Shane Bond
- Batting coach: Robin Singh
- Fielding coach: James Pamment
- Strength and conditionining: Paul Chapman
- Physio: Kevin Sims
India’s T20 World Cup plans
A sidetrack during IPL 2021 is going to be seeing how India’s T20 World Cup squad probables / hopefuls / outsiders perform.
- Mumbai Indians boast the core of the Indian line-up in their ranks in the form of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah. In footballing terms, that’s the spine of the Indian side and their form and fitness will be of massive importance to Virat Kohli’s side for the marquee tournament.
- Apart from the big three, Suryakumar and Kishan will be hoping to have another impressive IPL season to keep their spots in the T20I squad, both having impressed on their debuts against England. Kishan’s six-hitting was a revelation in the UAE as he finished the tournament as the topper in that metric while Yadav’s consistency was remarkable. Both have set high standards for themselves.
- Krunal will be involved in a battle of sorts with Ravindra Jadeja at CSK and perhaps Axar Patel at Delhi Capitals, and the trio’s performances in IPL for their sides could go some way in determining who gets that allrounder spot in the XI for India. Chahar will also hope to keep his name in the mix for the wrist-spinners slot.
The Big Question
- Unlike many other squads, which face a clear concern or three, the question facing Mumbai Indians is perhaps the most intangible. Law of averages, perhaps? Maybe a hint of complacency here or there? The rub of the green going the other side on a couple of nights? Because, otherwise, the franchise has answers to most of their cricketing questions. Except, perhaps, how to win on opening night.
Most Valuable Player
- It could be any of the three Indian superstars but given that the franchise would have to play around with their balance of the XI in the early stages of the tournament, Hardik’s bowling could just be the crucial factor. His bowling was not required in 2020 but that might not be the case during 2021, while his batting in the death overs remains the franchise’s ace in the hole, along with Pollard’s fireworks.
Uncapped player to look out for
- With neither Kishan nor Yadav fitting in this category anymore, it is hard to see any uncapped player getting a long run in the playing XI for MI this season. But if / when he gets a go, there will be plenty of interest in seeing how a certain Arjun Tendulkar goes with his left-arm pace. Mind you, it is an area where India are not blessed with too many options.
MI fixtures in IPL 2021
Ideal first XI
Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Nathan Coulter-Nile / James Neesham, Rahul Chahar / Piyush Chawla, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah
MI in IPL over the years
|Season||League stage finish||Playoff result|
|IPL 2010||1st||Lost final|
|IPL 2011||2nd out of 10||Won Eliminator, Lost Qualifier 2|
|IPL 2012||3rd out of 9||Lost Eliminator|
|IPL 2013||2nd out of 9||Champions|
|IPL 2014||4th||Lost Eliminator|